What Makes The Fox News Interview A Problem

“You’re a muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”

reza-aslan-cropped-proto-custom_24We’ve probably all seen this video, and if you haven’t, then take a look at the bottom. I’ve watched it about 10 times since it went viral a few days ago, and each time I become more angrier than before. Mainly because of the anchor, Lauren Green, questioning why anyone would want to expand their knowledge beyond their immediate circles, but also what makes me upset is that the views of Fox News, however much we all may loath them, doesn’t stem too far off from the way a lot of Americans think.

The opening question of why a Muslim would write about Christianity sums up how knowledge is viewed by too many Americans. It stems from a culture that sees gaining knowledge as something concrete–that what we learn needs to be immediately useful to us, which would explain why so many people are quick to dismiss a liberal arts education. These views are the product of a culture that says confronting one’s ignorance of anyone else’s culture is pointless. So according to Green, and so many other Americans, the only spaces we can expand our knowledge is in the communities we are directly apart of. Mentalities like these leave no room for intercultural dialogues, or a way of not just learning how to get along, but how to coexist with one another and move society forward.

It’s this way of thinking that has filled an American history of being scared of anything different and perpetuating ignorance. It’s this way of thinking that fueled the Red Scare during the Cold War and masked everything different–the Civil Rights Movement, The Women’s Movement, Labor Movements, and anyone else who fought for equality or a different approach to politics–as being Communist, without having a real definition of what that word actually meant. It’s the same way of thinking that deems it okay to suspect all African American men as criminals, and all people of Middle Eastern decent as terrorists.

This interview exposes a culture that has been brewing for far too long now. It’s a culture that that says, “be okay with the ignorant views you hold and don’t aspire  for any knowledge that may change your views of others in a positive way, because that’s not useful to you.” It’s a culture that can barely tolerate–let alone accept–others.

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4 thoughts on “What Makes The Fox News Interview A Problem

  1. What’s much more disturbing to me is the blatant anti-intellectualism. Fox News seems to be telling their audience that devotion is more important than knowledge, and that something can only be criticized by its own adherents, if it’s criticized at all. Not only is this hypocritical of Fox News anyway, as they are a right-wing propaganda machine that is constantly criticizing other ideological positions (should not left-wingers be the only ones criticizing the left-wing by Fox logic?), but it reinforces the right-wing tendency to “double down” and only galvanize further in the face of legitimate criticism. This interview was a subtle indoctrination of its viewers; it teaches them that it’s reasonable to spout ad hominems at one’s critics, which is exactly what the right-wing machine does. The viewers learn that they can dismiss anything that doesn’t agree with their views without the use of intellectual inquiry whatsoever, and that it’s enough to simply engage in some suspicious McCarthyist nonsense and reification.

    This is Republican Ignorance 101 and it needs to be stopped. Intellectuals should be having intellectual conversations, not willfully ignorant, sophistic ideologues.

  2. I totally agree. I’m a strong believer that everyone should be accountable by everyone. Unfortunately, we never really see that balanced criticism from both sides. Politics is more polarized than it has ever been before, and this interview shows that.

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