July 30, 2013

On his show last night, CNN’s Piers Morgan hosted media celebrity-of-the-moment Reza Aslan, the author and religion expert who was treated to a prejudicial interview by FoxNews.com‘s Lauren Green because he dared to write a book about the founder of Christianity — “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” — while being a Muslim. The question from Morgan was uncomplicated: What were you thinking as you took on those “ridiculous” questions?

Aslan responded, “Truly I was kind of embarrassed. I mean, there’s nothing more distasteful than an academic having to like trot out his credentials. You really come off as a jerk when you do that, but it was very hard not to keep mentioning that I am really qualified to write the book so let’s talk about the book instead.”

Indeed: Green’s questions suggested that Aslan carried a bias against Christianity, necessitating his repeated recitation of his credentials. Now his statements about his academic history are coming under attack as well, adding to the linkfest over his book, which is No. 1 on Amazon.

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Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.