Friday, August 02, 2013

Religion: Fox's Lauren Green, Reza Aslan, and Media Matters Controversy

Jean Purcell
Thinking over labeling


Media Matters(MM) recently reported ("Reza Aslan and How Fox News Islamophobia Comes from the Top") that Lauren Green insulted Reza Aslan on "Spirited Debate," a program on Fox News. Dr. Aslan was a guest, on to discuss a latest book, his historical  perspective about Jesus. The author is a professor of and writer about world religions. Ms Green reports on religion for Fox News

To find out more about MM's fury over Ms Green's interview, I turned to YouTube after the video was pulled from MM. I've been reading MM blog posts with interest, noting their unabashed anti-Fox position. 

Here are some of my observations and impressions about the Green-Aslan conversation: 

About Ms Green as interviewer: Her comments, questions, and delivery style lacked the crispness she usually brings to her reporting. At one point, she misspoke in a big way and was corrected by Dr Aslan, who referred to facts given at the beginning of his book. As to style, Ms Green kept looking down at notes and seemed at times flustered. I can imagine that this type of venue is new to her. Therefore, there needs to be a honing of skills needed for this type of program, in my view.  

About Dr Aslan as interviewee: Dr Aslan's immediate reference to his (weighty) credentials struck me as defensive over-kill. He impresses as an intelligent expert, and his opinions could be clear without curriculum vitae citations. I watched a video of him at another venue where he was less defensive. In both instances he seemed easily annoyed by others' comments; the word 'haughty' came to mind.  

About the "Spirited Debate" program: Ms Green's program has potential if developed to fit the category of, for example, BBC's Hardtalk. For that to happen, an audience would need  convincing that interviewer and guest are prepared, interested, and able to deliver professional, informative, and lively discussion. 

A conclusion based on viewing the Green-Aslan conversation: My impression was that host and guest approached each other over-loaded for bear,  phobia labels aside. They then helped each other derail what might have been an interesting program with keen interest, discussion, and debate. Due to the flaws I've described, that did not happen. It was only, at best, awkward, and on many levels. Media Matters, which I owe being aware of this controversy, jumped past analyzing the interview in order to apply a label: Islamophobic. MM's label for Fox opened them up to being labeled Fox-phobic. It's obvious again how quickly labels show their uselessness in such matters.   


Copyright (c) 2013 Opinari Writers-Jean Purcell

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