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Author Topic: In case you thought you had already seen Fox at its most mind numbing...  (Read 913 times)

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Offline vtboyTopic starter

There was Laura Green's interview of Reza Aslan:

Reza Aslan To Fox News Anchor: "I Wrote 'Zealot' Because I Am An Expert"

I am literally speechless.

Offline Oniya

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For those who don't want to sit through the 10 minute interview, the phrase 'because I am an expert' follows from this statement by Reza Aslan:

Quote
“Well, to be clear,” Mr. Aslan said, his eyebrows lifting up in surprise, “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”

(Source)

I think that qualifies him as an expert comparatively.  Also, if I recall my own history classes, Muslims also believe that Jesus existed.  They rank him as one of the great prophets, though, not as a divine being.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Laura Green began the interview with a question as to what gives the author the right to write a book about Christ.  She might try reading the book before commenting on it and asking questions about it as should anyone who wants to talk about it.

Actually, her attitude and obvious bias is not the reason I don't watch Fox.  It's the fact that their interviews, those I've had the chance to watch, are often conducted by people who are usually ill-prepared to do their job.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 12:45:10 PM by Beguile's Mistress »

Offline gaggedLouise

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The idea that you can own a prophet, a writer, an age in history, any kind of sphere of life or experience, and can forbid others to write about those, to have opinions about them, to make images relating to that person or that time, or discuss such images, because these persons are not of your own group - that idea is one I'm dead set against. Nobody should be excluded a priori from a cultural or newsy conversation, or derided, because of not having the right religion, the right colour of skin, the right kind of family or academic background. And with this guy, it's obvious he does have a solid background of research and personal heritage anyway.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 03:46:22 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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You know what depresses me? Kayfabe* Culture.

Kayfabe is fine as an entertainment tool. I've always been a fan of pro wrestling (what can I say, I'm from a redneck burg, I escaped monster truck pulls but some things you just can't avoid). But it has metastasized now far beyond those origins into almost every sphere of the media... and unlike in pro wrestling, most of the time the viewers are being kept in the dark about the fakery. Its true from the small scale -- for instance Alex Jones and Bill O'Reilly have kayfabe spats to present the appearance of a genuine diversity of ideas in the product both of them are selling: kayfabe spats

And it goes right up to the large scale with the conservative movement having its own kayfabe news network (now beginning to be mirrored on MSNBC) in Fox News.

This instance is a perfect example of that network in action, and of kayfabe being put to very cynical use by everyone involved. Laura Green is the Heel. Reza Aslan is the Face. Or vice versa depending on which public is viewing it. Do I believe for one second that either them went into this believing or wanting a real interview to happen? No. It's all kayfabe. Real interviews and actual news broadcasting are not what Laura's network does; she's there the feed red meat to the right-wing appetites of her viewers. And Reza Aslan of course is there knowing perfectly well that some stupid and offensive shit is going to happen, and in fact counting on it. Because he is counting, correctly, on reportage of the controversy to drive his book sales.

Everything about it is just incredibly depressing.

(*Kayfabe being pro wrestling jargon for portraying staged events as real ones, for anyone who isn't familiar with the term.)
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 03:40:37 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Oniya

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*chalks up a point for Cyrano for using it in a non-wrestling context - and probably accurately with regard to the media in general.*

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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*nods*  I usually look at most of what is put out there, whatever the medium, as someone doing what they do to get noticed.  I'm a cynic and seldom even take blogs on most issues or other internet contributions as anything more than facing (showing your face because there is an audience) since I seldom see any real value in any of it.

Offline Tairis

I'm more eye rolling about a guy that claims to follow Islam writing a book about how Christianity is historically and scientifically wrong. Seems like the pot calling the kettle black.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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I'm more eye rolling about a guy that claims to follow Islam writing a book about how Christianity is historically and scientifically wrong

Aslan is also calling Islam's perspective on the historical Jesus wrong. (This is no little thing: Jesus is a big deal in Muslim scripture.) He may be an opportunistic self-marketer but I don't see any reason to actually believe that he's some fanatic flogging an anti-Christian screed.

[Not that I find arguments about "the historical Jesus" very interesting, since I think it's likely there wasn't one. Still, there's no reason to automatically assume that a scholar who happens to Muslim is Muslim first and a scholar second.]
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 12:16:19 AM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Shjade

I'd say it's pretty likely there was a man in that time period named Jesus who had followers of some kind.

It's the accuracy of events said to have happened around such a person I find suspect.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Then again we might be overlooking the fact that Fox needs to keep its air time alive in order to draw advertisers so they look for people and events that will draw viewers.  The book had been reviewed by several people Laura Green quoted during the interview and Fox had commented on the book on their website prior to Reza Aslan's appearance.  Because Aslan is Muslim and because the book is about Jesus:

[/quote]“You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Green asked immediately to start the interview.[/quote]

Fox was able to turn the interview into something many of their viewers appreciate.  It was an attack by Fox on an apparent (to them) opponent of Christianity.

Aslan knew what he was getting into and let's face it he'd have been foolish to pass up an opportunity to sell his book.  All he had to do was show up, let Fox do their thing and continue to point out where they were wrong.  He stayed calm, he didn't engage with the interviewer and the fallout from what some are calling a debacle on FoxNews is free advertising for him and Fox.

Remember - The first purpose of television journalism is to sell air time.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Remember - The first purpose of television journalism is to sell air time.

I agree... except that you're in theory not supposed to be able to do just anything to sell air time. The airwaves are public property, and in selling airtime the media is also supposed to be functioning in the public interest as the Fourth Estate. It's this that is being forgotten or outright abandoned by too many outlets.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 12:28:45 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Callie Del Noire

I agree... except that you're in theory not supposed to be able to do just anything to sell air time. The airwaves are public property, and in selling airtime the media is also supposed to be functioning in the public interest as the Fourth Estate. It's this that is being forgotten or outright abandoned by too many outlets.

Let's be honest.. The Fourth Estate started to die with the arrival of television and Ronald Reagan (with the repeal of the Fairness doctrine) and Ted Turner (with the creation of CNN) dealt the death blow. The 'Fourth Estate' died sometime around 2000 in the US and what we have left is a cruel undead mockery of what it should be.

Advertising and 'pitching' to your core audience is more important than informing the public or protecting them. Fox leads the way (in my opinion) but no major channel is far behind. Fox lost the last right to claim to be anything but a tabloid channel when their VP asserted that HE decides who is a source and who is protected from exposure with the release of the Bin Laden Seal team name and the assertion that they can lie to the public and present things they KNOW aren't truth as 'News'.

Offline Oniya

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The (university?) paper Cyrano linked to gave a pretty good summation of that, actually.  I liked this line:

Quote
If we didn't know better, we'd think that the dogs have gone crazy and started attacking humans in unprecendented numbers (ala Hitchcock's "The Birds"), but in fact dog attacks on people are down . It's simply that the Diane Wipple story has drawn public attention (and media focus) to the dog-bites-man story.

(Although the site needs a bit of the old spell-check, apparently.)

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Let's be honest.. The Fourth Estate started to die with the arrival of television and Ronald Reagan (with the repeal of the Fairness doctrine) and Ted Turner (with the creation of CNN) dealt the death blow. The 'Fourth Estate' died sometime around 2000 in the US and what we have left is a cruel undead mockery of what it should be.

Advertising and 'pitching' to your core audience is more important than informing the public or protecting them. Fox leads the way (in my opinion) but no major channel is far behind. Fox lost the last right to claim to be anything but a tabloid channel when their VP asserted that HE decides who is a source and who is protected from exposure with the release of the Bin Laden Seal team name and the assertion that they can lie to the public and present things they KNOW aren't truth as 'News'.

Air time is a product, the networks and stations are the marketers and they'll do whatever they feel is necessary to justify the cost to advertisers.

The only recourse the view actually has these days is to hit the advertisers in their pockets by boycotting their products as long as they try to sell them on a specific station.  Some advertisers dropped their sponsorship of Fox a few years ago due to consumer pressure because of statements made by Glenn Beck.

When a company's revenues are threatened they react.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Air time is a product, the networks and stations are the marketers and they'll do whatever they feel is necessary to justify the cost to advertisers.

The only recourse the view actually has these days is to hit the advertisers in their pockets by boycotting their products as long as they try to sell them on a specific station.  Some advertisers dropped their sponsorship of Fox a few years ago due to consumer pressure because of statements made by Glenn Beck.

When a company's revenues are threatened they react.

Yeah.. and like it was pointed out on The Newsroom's first season.. the Government gave the broadcasters free access to the airwaves with one caveat.. to report the news once a day. We are served by a news reporting apparatus that isn't beholden to advertising revenue on what to report.

The Bovine Growth Hormone scandal down here in Florida in 1997 was foiled by threats and pressures from advertisers. The reporters were told to 'edit' the content to make the advertisers happy.. to the point the entire investigative report was easily termed a white wash. Repeated incidents on similar issues have come up with little to no 'mainstream' media interest. Such as the impact certain herbacides have on the instance of Hive disintegration, the growth of 'super-weeds' and the ongoing destruction of small farming by Monsanto's 'ownership' of seedstock. The doesn't even cover the allegations of things overseas.. like the assertion that Monsanto and others are destroying traditional economies overseas to the point of causing farmer suicides.

It's more important to know what gender Snooky's kid will be than events going on overseas.

Offline Tairis

Aslan is also calling Islam's perspective on the historical Jesus wrong. (This is no little thing: Jesus is a big deal in Muslim scripture.) He may be an opportunistic self-marketer but I don't see any reason to actually believe that he's some fanatic flogging an anti-Christian screed.

[Not that I find arguments about "the historical Jesus" very interesting, since I think it's likely there wasn't one. Still, there's no reason to automatically assume that a scholar who happens to Muslim is Muslim first and a scholar second.]

I didn't mean in a 'muslim attack on christianity' kind of funny. I meant more that it strikes me as odd that he's saying that christianity is wrong about Jesus because of 'science and facts' yet is still a follower of one of the three main monotheistic religions on the planet. He doesn't believe Jesus was a prophet/son of god, but he was fine with the idea Muhammad having god talking to him in a cave and founding the 'one true religion'?

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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I didn't mean in a 'muslim attack on christianity' kind of funny. I meant more that it strikes me as odd that he's saying that christianity is wrong about Jesus because of 'science and facts' yet is still a follower of one of the three main monotheistic religions on the planet.

I dunno, I guess maybe not all followers of those religions hew to the crudest and most simplistic possible caricatures of their belief systems? Maybe? Since from his remarks I gather he doesn't take all of Muslim mythology literally either?

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I didn't mean in a 'muslim attack on christianity' kind of funny. I meant more that it strikes me as odd that he's saying that christianity is wrong about Jesus because of 'science and facts' yet is still a follower of one of the three main monotheistic religions on the planet. He doesn't believe Jesus was a prophet/son of god, but he was fine with the idea Muhammad having god talking to him in a cave and founding the 'one true religion'?

Um. Worth noting, and IIRC mentioned in the video: Islam does recognize Jesus as a prophet.

Offline Tairis

Um. Worth noting, and IIRC mentioned in the video: Islam does recognize Jesus as a prophet.

Yea, I recall that just wasn't writing things out correctly. His dispute being against the concept of the 'christ' part rather than the 'prophet' part.

I dunno, I guess maybe not all followers of those religions hew to the crudest and most simplistic possible caricatures of their belief systems? Maybe? Since from his remarks I gather he doesn't take all of Muslim mythology literally either?

Entirely possible, and good for him if so. I'll at least take reasonable over fanatical. I've just never understood religious stance of 'well, this part doesn't make sense so I'll ignore it, but the rest of this is definitely the truth' either.

Offline Sabre

Re: In case you thought you had already seen Fox at its most mind numbing...
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2013, 04:26:21 PM »
I didn't mean in a 'muslim attack on christianity' kind of funny. I meant more that it strikes me as odd that he's saying that christianity is wrong about Jesus because of 'science and facts' yet is still a follower of one of the three main monotheistic religions on the planet. He doesn't believe Jesus was a prophet/son of god, but he was fine with the idea Muhammad having god talking to him in a cave and founding the 'one true religion'?

It's the same way a devout Catholic can and will write about physics without injecting his personal beliefs.  From what I've gathered there's nothing all that new in Aslan's book about Jesus that hasn't already been said by previous scholars on the subject, who all happened to be Christian, Jewish and atheist/agnostic.  This book is apparently only significant because the author is a populist Muslim writer writing a populist version of current debates about Jesus of Nazareth.  It's the perfect storm where opinionated Biblical fundamentalists come together with nascent bigotry about an infidel attacking the faith.

Brought to you by Fox News.


Also, it's not as though this book was written as an indirect defense of Islam.  Aslan notes how in Islam Jesus is a divinely inspired prophet of God who performed miracles and was saved from crucifixion.  But his book talks about Jesus as a Jewish zealot advocating for the poor and downtrodden using his faith and was ultimately crucified by authorities for it.  Had he been a scholar in the Middle East writing mostly in Arabic and was unknown to the U.S. he'd still be called out on for apparently attacking a prophet of Islam.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2013, 04:40:24 PM by Sabre »

Offline Shelyn

Re: In case you thought you had already seen Fox at its most mind numbing...
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2013, 05:52:18 AM »
I'll just leave this here as my opinion.


Offline Oniya

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Re: In case you thought you had already seen Fox at its most mind numbing...
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2013, 10:03:42 AM »
I could come up with a bunch of those.  After all, I doubt that Stephen King was ever a teenaged female pyrokinetic.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: In case you thought you had already seen Fox at its most mind numbing...
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2013, 10:40:12 AM »
When Tina Turner had a big hit with Private Dancer - clearly a song portraying a prostitute, and sung in character - she got outraged letters from fans asking "Why are you doing this song? It's about a hooker! Have you been a hooker, Tina?" She replied in interviews that she hadn't understood that the woman in the song was that kind, but had thought it was a leased dancer doing - just dances in private sessions at the ranches of rich men. A bit like a taxi dancer.

I think one listen to the song is enough to show she was quite clear what it was all about, and it's a very moving track, but naturally she didn't want to have to address those "fan letters".