How Fox News boosted a Muslim's book about Jesus
An antagonistic interview only serves to spike sales of Reza Aslan's 'Zealot,' pushing it to No. 1 on Amazon.
The publicity surrounding what Buzzfeed called the "most embarrassing interview Fox News has ever done" has clearly helped feather Aslan's bank account. His publisher, Random House, told the The New York Times that sales of "Zealot" have surged by 35% in two days. According to the Los Angeles Times, Aslan's book is topping the bestseller list on Amazon (AMZN). It's No. 4 on The New York Times' list of hardcover nonfiction titles and No. 7 on the Publisher's Weekly hardcover nonfiction list.
Another reason Aslan's book is selling well is that, in the opinion of many reviewers, it's very good. The New Yorker called it riveting. Kirkus Reviews added: "Why has Christianity taken hold and flourished? This book will give you the answers in the simplest, most straightforward, comprehensible manner." Author Jon Meacham added: "This is a special and revealing work, one that believer and skeptic alike will find surprising, engaging, and original."
Aslan certainly has an interesting background. He was born a Muslim and became a devout Christian before rediscovering the faith of his ancestors. Along the way, Aslan earned a doctorate in the sociology of religions from the University of California. Fox News anchor Lauren Green, whose job title, strangely enough, is religion correspondent, tried and failed to use Aslan's faith against him.
Green further embarrassed herself when Aslan pointed out to her that he mentioned on page 2 that he's a Muslim, which proved that she hadn't actually read "Zealot." The back-and-forth between Aslan and Green has already become a well-told tale. Aslan, though, deserves credit for maintaining his composure in a very uncomfortable situation. Even people who may not agree with his views couldn't help but like him personally.
Aslan deserves an apology from Fox News and its corporate parent 21st Century Fox (FOXA), though one isn't likely to come.
Jonatnan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Some one at Fox news looked at the cover and title and decided they needed to go after this Muslim guy. We will quickly cherry pick a few negative reviews and get this guy!
Obviously they never bothered to do any research about this scholar or even bother to read the book.
Not only will this pathetic hack of a journalist keep her job Fox news will probably give her a raise and Bill O Reily will praise her on his show.
Another truly cringeworthy Fox News interview with thinly disguised bias, handled by an interviewer who has clearly never bothered to read the book and doesn't know the subject.
I've completely lost count. Is this number three hundred something by now?...
This is in line with many of the negative reviews written by randoms on Amazon. Most professional of the book, however, don't claim that Aslan denies "the existence of the Christian faith."
Instead, the author offers different perspectives on what drove Jesus as a person, looking at how politics was more of a factor than we may have realized. He makes the case that Jesus was a revolutionary who was treated as an enemy of the state and, among other lightning rods for criticism, connects the dots of multiple historians' analyses about Jesus' birth with what the apostles said about it to suggest Jesus might not have been born in a manger in Bethlehem."
Let's keep the facts straight and compare apples to apples, Green's uninformed and ill prepared interview was dismal with a total absence of journalistic standards. If Fox wanted to maintain any degree of professionalism, she should be terminated. Because she didn't prepare and decided to wing it, she posed disparaging questions and posited statements of fact, which were incorrect. Her supposition that a Muslim cannot write about Christianity BECAUSE he is a Muslim is illogical and absurd on the face of it. Further, that a Muslim scholar with a doctorate in religion(s) and two decades of study on the subject should be questioned as to possible ulterior motives is even more ridiculous and insulting! Green and Fox News owe Dr. Aslan a very public apology. They have no decency and are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions and blatant stupidity.
When Albert Einstein was asked if he had to pick a religion, which would he choose? he then replied, "Buddhism"...
We must be in the age of the end of religions born in the middle east since Christianity, Islam and Judaism produce nothing but anger, fear, hate and violence...
Voice of Reason,
He said up front that the book was not about Christianity. Since he also stated up front that he was Muslim, but he was writing about Jesus the man and his environment at the time he was crucified.
Fortunately I am an agnostic so I do not have to worry about which religion is the "real one". They are all of the same ilk and in looking at wars over the past 6,000 or 7,000 years, religions hardly qualify as peaceful, unbiased, sympathetic, or supportive of any other "faith".
As a famous individual once stated, man invented god, not god creating man. Man created god, in my opinion, as a crutch when things didn't go well or they had a need that was beyond their control.
But I do admire scholars such as Aslan who provide scholarly articles and books on various aspects of the history of portions of human time on this planet.
It's obvious that she hadn't read the book at the time of the interview but, in context, her first question didn't appear to be confrontational. She asked first "to be clear, you're a Muslim, so why did you feel the need to write a book about Christianity?" He was definitely on his toes waiting to defend any reference to his Muslim faith in connection with a bias on the two religions. He answered in a SOMEWHAT confrontational manner as though she was accusing him of something, however she handled the situation terribly by ignoring his answers and continuously asking absurdly stupid questions. The confrontation could have been avoided if she wasn't so blindly persistent.
I now understand that the news caster that was interviewing him also has an extensive background but she was rude anyway.
A I posted, I believe she does have a background in such studies. But she is doing an interview, not a critique. As a result we know less about the contents of the book than we might have had otherwise.
Fox interviewer (Lauren Green) has her degree from a cracker jack box. They are ALL "experts" at Fox. Fox is famous for trumping up false degrees on their anchors. I once looked up a woman who was a Fox regular commentator who got her degree from my alma mater, and went on and got a masters and phd from Columbia University. At first I was skeptical because I couldn't believe she went through the same curriculum and sounded like such an airhead.
Checked the Columbia University records, nothing on her by her present and/or maiden name. Aslan on the other hand has several degrees, and they question that, when all along Fox makes up degrees of their experts to skew a view in their wacked out favor. Since they do it all the time, they believe everyone must have a false degree. At Fox, any crazy story with some kind of white middle class fear-factor is "news". They want you to believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket. WE'VE COME FOR YOUR CHILDREN........
When you see them, call it out. Betcha you'll find alot. If impersonating an officer is a crime, what about impersonating an expert? Showering you creds with false degrees is nothing new, just ask any human resource manager. But you will never see a Fox News "expert" testify before any jury.
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