Doreen Carvajal for The New York Times: “Mockery is a national weapon in France, so when an American cable news channel raised false alarms about rampant lawlessness in some Paris neighborhoods — proclaiming them “no-go zones” for non-Muslims, avoided even by the police — a popular French television show rebutted the claims the way it best knew how: with satire, spoofs and a campaign of exaggeration and sarcasm.” (NYTimes)
“Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is planning to sue Fox News for its inaccurate reports on Muslim “no
go zones,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Hidalgo told Amanpour in an interview. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”
When asked to clarify which network she planned “to take to court and sue,” Hidalgo replied: “Fox News, that’s the name.”
July 30, 2014
The comedian rips apart the ignorance and inherent bias in Hannity’s segment on Israel and Gaza
In his Web series “The Trews,” this week comedian Russell Brand watched “Hannity” so that you didn’t have to, and ripped apart Fox News host Sean Hannity for extremely “childish” and biased coverage of the incredibly complicated Israel-Gaza conflict.
In response to a totally reasonable press release by the Council on American–Islamic Relations, which asked that American taxpayer funds not go toward killing innocent people in Gaza, Hannity wondered, “Why is America’s largest Muslim so-called civil rights group showing sympathy to terrorists? Let’s have a debate.”
The debate, which is already not really a debate as Brand points out, then devolved into Hannity shouting at his guest from the Jerusalem Fund & Palestine Center, Yousef Munayyer. Munayyer was invited to offer his opinions, but Hannity was not interested in hearing them because they offered a more nuanced understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“Sean’s not interested in truth,” Brand concluded, saying, “Hannity is only interested in pushing a particular perspective.”
In his so-called debate, Brand said, Hannity “remov[ed] all context, except for the information that’s relevant” to him and to Fox News.
By the end of the segment, Brand wonders: Who is the real terrorist here? “One definition of terrorism is using intimidation to achieve your goals,” he says. “Who in that situation was behaving like a terrorist? Using intimidation, bullying, being unreasonable: Sean Hannity. That’s where the terrorism is coming from.”
December 2, 2013
Fox News is warning viewers about a YMCA swim class for Muslim girls, suggesting that it’s a bad sign of the “minority becoming the majority.”
A YMCA in St. Paul, Minnesota recently teamed up with the St. Paul Police Department to offer a swim class for Somali-American girls. The class respects the girls’ religious beliefs, and Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported on the need for the program and its success.
Fox News saw it differently. “The minority becoming the majority at one community pool,” newsreader Heather Nauert said on Monday’s “Fox and Friends.” “Sharia law is now changing everything.”
“This means during the one hour class, the pool is being shut down,” she said. “The men’s locker room is being locked and female life guards are being brought in. Similar classes are now starting at towns across the Midwest. We’ll keep watching this story for you.”
The National Report strikes again.
The satirical website, which is less obviously satirical than the Onion (and some would say far less funny) fooled Fox News host Anna Kooimaninto believing its fake story that President Barack Obama was using personal funds to keep a Muslim museum open during the government shutdown.
Of course this juxtaposed perfectly against a story of veterans being denied entry into the World War II memorial, which was probably the National Report’s goal all along.
“The Muslims are coming!” That is the tongue-in-cheek name of a new documentary by Muslim comedians. But it is also the deadly serious shriek echoing through the American right in response to the launch of Al Jazeera America. Like Dr. Emmett Brown’s distraught warning that bazooka-wielding Arab terrorists are stalking the palatial suburbs (“The Libyans!”), conservatives are in a full-on frenzy, insinuating that Al Jazeera’s entry into the U.S. cable television market is akin to an invasion by a foreign menace and, thus, represents an existential threat to U.S. national security.
Now, to the hypocrisy: If the jingoistic anti-Al Jazeera saber rattlers are so angry about media outlets with foreign owners coming to the United States, where is their outrage when it comes to similar media-expansion efforts by entities connected to other countries?
For example, Australian citizen Rupert Murdoch began buying up major American newspapers like the San Antonio News-Express and the New York Post. Murdoch only became a U.S. citizen in 1985 — and that was in order to circumvent U.S. statutes restricting the amount of media a single foreign owner can control. Why aren’t the anti-Al Jazeera jingoists expressing concern that Murdoch represents a dangerous foreign infiltration of the U.S. media market?
Additionally, in a society where the ugliest Islamophobia is still pervasive, the right wing is also using the launch of Al Jazeera America as yet another excuse to manufacture a spectacle of anti-Muslim bigotry and to vilify anything with ties to Muslims — even a news organization whose international branch has won esteemed awards for its objective journalism.
In that larger campaign of Islamophobia, when ties to Muslims are found among the right’s own institutions — say, the aforementioned Saudi royal family’s connections to Fox News — conservatives are often willing to direct their Islamophobia elsewhere, as long as the institution in question loyally champions conservative political ideology and Islamophobia, which, of course, Fox News most certainly does.
In a recent interview heard round the world (or at least, round influential Twitter feeds), the Fox News host Lauren Green spoke to Reza Aslan about his new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” Ms. Green’s focus on why Mr. Aslan, a Muslim, would write about Jesus, created a stir on social media (and traditional media), bringing more attention to the book, which was already on The New York Times best-seller list.
“Zealot” argues that the historical Jesus was a Jewish revolutionary interested in overthrowing Roman rule in Palestine, not in establishing a celestial kingdom, and that he would not have understood the idea of being God incarnate. In a recent phone interview, Mr. Aslan discussed the strong reactions to his book, his desire to reach a Christian audience, the difficulty of writing about ancient history and more. Below are edited excerpts from the conversation:
BEFORE “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Gospel of Judas,” before Mel Gibson’s “Passion” and Martin Scorsese’s “Last Temptation,” before the Dead Sea Scrolls were unearthed and the Gnostic gospels rediscovered, there was a German scholar named Hermann Samuel Reimarus.
Today there are enough competing “real Jesuses” that it’s hard for a would-be Strauss to find his Shaftesbury. Which is why every reinterpreter of Jesus not named Dan Brown is probably envious of Reza Aslan, the Iranian-born academic and author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” who achieved Strauss-style liftoff thanks to 10 painful minutes on Fox News.
Those minutes were spent with the interviewer, Lauren Green, asking Aslan to explain why a Muslim would write a book about Jesus — with Aslan coolly emphasizing his credentials and the non-Islamic nature of his argument — and then with Green asking variations on the Muslim question, to increasing offense and diminishing returns.
The video quickly went viral, turning Aslan into a culture-war icon, a martyr to Fox’s biases … and soon enough (as these things tend to go) a martyr with a No. 1 best seller.
The irony is that Aslan’s succès de scandale would be more deserved if he had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus. That would have been something provocative and — to Western readers — relatively new.
Instead, Aslan’s book offers a more engaging version of the argument Reimarus made 250 years ago. His Jesus is an essentially political figure, a revolutionary killed because he challenged Roman rule, who was then mysticized by his disciples and divinized by Paul of Tarsus.
It’s about time.
A real conversation about religion has begun in this country. In fact, it has gone viral. Up until now, public religion has too-often been about name-calling, confessionals, politics and cartoon versions of “the other.”
Thanks to a shockingly insensitive interview with religious scholar Reza Aslan, the author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” and a man who just happens to be Muslim, the Internet has lit up like a Christmas tree. Lauren Green of Fox News began her questioning with this: “You are a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Once wasn’t enough. She kept asking the clearly dumbfounded Aslan the same question as he tried to explain that he is a scholar of religion. Given her insistence, one might have wondered why an African American Christian woman would be interviewing a white Persian male Muslim.
Aslan is not upset about the interview. In fact, he has reason to be pleased. It has given his book wide media exposure.
“I am so glad people are having this conversation,” Aslan says. “I was surprised how it captured the zeitgeist. This is a topic usually discussed by academics in stuffy libraries.”
What’s so outrageous about the book? He calls Jesus a zealot, for one thing. But as he explains, “in Jesus’s world, ‘zealot’ referred to those Jews who adhered to a widely biblical doctrine called zeal.” They were against Roman authorities and their collaborators, wealthy temple priests and aristocratic Jews. The fact that Jesus was a revolutionary — a rabble-rouser — is not exactly news in the world of theology. He wasn’t running around passing out Easter eggs.
What’s interesting here is the backlash from what he calls “the anti-Muslim fringe, the rabid Islamophobes, who have been attacking me for a decade and calling me vile and racist names.” He wasn’t surprised by what happened on Fox News and has no hard feelings toward Green. “I have nothing but compassion for her. I understand where she is coming from. I used to be like her. I used to be a fundamentalist evangelical Christian. It’s a fear in the world of being confronted with questioning the most basic tenets of your faith.”
FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting said in a statement to Fox News that the U.S. government is at war with Islam.
It’s the first statement Maj. Nidal Hasan has put out to the U.S. Fmedia. In the past, he has spoken via telephone with Al-Jazeera, the transcript of which is evidence in his upcoming trial.
“My complicity was on behalf of a government that openly acknowledges that it would hate for the law of Almighty Allah to be the supreme law of the land,” Hasan said in the lengthy statement released to Fox News (http://fxn.ws/1cafkA2 ) on Saturday. He then says in reference to a war on Islam, “I participated in it.”
Hasan also said in the statement that he regrets serving in the Army.