You are required to watch the CNN interview between presenters Don Lemon and Alisyn Camerota and their guest Reza Aslan available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-W-7ozJXLw
You are required to annotate the written transcript of the interview (provided below) with notes identifying:
1. The purpose of each participant at the beginning of the interview and comment on whether or not their purposes were more likely to cause conflict or manage conflict
2. The stories the participants are telling themselves and any specific acts of vilification
3. Any instances in the interview where any of the participants became threatened and explain why
4. Any instances where the participants were relying on opinions rather than facts
The ‘Angry’ Tone of Professor Reza Aslam’s took centre stage in the CNN interview, where the host anchor, Cuomo, hosted Alisyn Camerota and Don Lemon. Chris Cuomo unwittingly opted to demonstrate the hostility that many people have held regarding the Islamic faith. In fact, the discussion shows that many individuals fear the Islamic religion. During the CNN interview program, Professor Aslam was against the vilification of the Muslims by Bill Maher from his position and negative comments that targeted the Islamic faith. Aslam slammed Bill Maher for his commented while Camerota and Lemon completely scolded and proved their objection regarding the over-generalization of the Muslim community. Maher’s demonstrated that the over 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide promoted violence. The debate was centred on bigotry as the professor used few incidences to generalize or legitimize criminality in the name of religion. This generalization of 1.5 billion Muslims as violent is unjustifiable.
Camerota: Defenders of Islam insist it is a peaceful religion. Others disagree and point to the primitive treatment in Muslim countries of women and other minorities.
Conflict is part of human life because in any environment where more than an individual is involved (Behfar, Peterson, Mannis, & Trochim 2008, p. 172). They tend to have divergent opinions regarding the situation. The causes of conflict vary, but it could be different views or goals, philosophical differences, and power imbalance (Fisher 2010, p. 429). In the interview, the angry tone of Professor Reza is a justification of an existing conflict that requires proper management. According to Fisher (2010, p. 433), poorly or unmanaged conflict would degenerate into low productivity and breakdown of trust. In fact, even individuals who are non-confrontational always feel it and needs to manage it.
Regarding the incidences in the interview, each participant had a role to play in handling the conflict. This should have involved understanding the perspectives (Fisher 2010). This is the first step towards controlling conflict emanating from the heated interview. For example, both Bill Maher and Professor Reza Aslam must have felt that they were right in their arguments. However, they needed to have known that there is more than one perspective in a debate other than their opinions. Behfar et al. (2008, p. 178) held that people view situations differently and would have different reactions as well. With this knowledge, it becomes possible to handle conflicts without blame or condemnation. In most cases, when an individual blames others, the conflict escalates and run out the hand (Kirell 2014). Therefore, avoiding such blames is critical in resolving the conflict.
Maher could have avoided the direct attack or personalization of the situation to avoid triggering conservative views. In fact, he had set his tone a wrong footing by claiming that Obama could be a Muslim who is unique and plays to the gallery of the radicalized community as demonstrated by Kirell (2014). Camerota had also set the situation for a conflict to thrive by taking a different position. The opening statement and word diction had established the stage for conflict. For instance, by saying “defenders of Islam insist it is a peaceful religion” is itself triggering conflict. In fact, by adding the divergent views to be primitive triggers the debate. Therefore, Camerota could have used the best and positive opening statement that could have attracted positive comments.
Additionally, communication was essential in controlling the situation. For instance, the panellists should have ensured the context of their communication and perceptions should be clear as demonstrated by (Eitington 2007, p. 182). Clear communication breakups doubt that could have existed in the minds of the opponents. Without a doubt, the situation revolved around miscommunication thus exposing the participant to conflicts. The conflict evident in this interview was avoidable because the participant could have cleared it up swiftly. To this effect, the participants could have had a frank and respectful conversation based on their sources of information. With a clear understanding of the issues, the conversation could have yielded results. However, as it stands, it appeared that the participants never realized they were misquoting and misunderstanding the issue (Fisher 2010, p. 429). It could have been probable for them to diffuse the conflict quickly through correct communication.
The moderator had a role to play in resolving the impasse. The journalist should have taken action to ensure that conflict never festered by finding the source of this conflict that was evident from the beginning as exclaimed by Fisher (2010, p. 430). The participants never agreed whether Islam was violent or peaceful religion. Before taking actions, the participants could have tried to work it out and talk to one another (Behfar et al. 2008, p. 179). Both parties should have given each party an opportunity to make their points in turns instead of interjections. This could have ensured that the conflict is resolved without causing bigger problems. A compromised position could have worked for the participants. The participants could have talked to the source of this dispute directly to avoid misunderstanding and misquotation.
The participants could have remained calm so that they controlled their emotional responses. In the interview, the protagonists and antagonists could have managed their emotional responses to the situation (Kirell 2014). This is the best approach to get over the conflict and resolve the issues. Behfar et al. (2008, p. 182) held that when the parties remain calm, the participants find an opportunity to address the issue without fear, anger, and intimidation. Without a doubt, it becomes critical for the parties to understand the context and the intention of the interview. This could have enabled them to avoid overstatements or underestimations that made the vulnerable to the attacks and counterattacks. By intimidating others into accepting, a new view can never work because each one has a different cultural inclination (Eitington 2007, p. 507). To this effect, all the participants were right and wrong at the same time because each one held the views without getting an opportunity to interrogate the context.
Indisputably, handling conflicts is a major factor that must be considered in any situation (Zastrow 2009, p. 166). In fact, even in a hypothetical circumstance, one needs to have a clear understanding of how to resolve the conflict. Based on the interview, the moderator may find it difficult to control the situation. However, the participants have the role to play to avoid escalating the conflict beyond hand. The behavioural reaction to conflict ensures people understand and interpret the point of contention. Although coercion is one of the methods to resolving conflict, it is not the only way (Zastrow 2009, p. 72). If it fails to work, the participants could have had an opportunity for collaborative resolution. For instance, by talking together about the disagreement would allow the decision to happen because all the parties would understand each other’s case. It is thus possible for the parties to strike a mutually agreeable solution.
The step should begin with recognizing the existence of the problem that must be resolved. This is the only strategy that the panellists could have used to address the issues without getting anxious and mad. Subsequently, they needed to explore the underlying concerns regarding the religion conflict (Zastrow 2009, p. 138). As such, it was possible to create a mutually agreeable solution.
Maher had an unconscious bias because he never knew that he was vilifying Muslims as violent without a holistic justification. Muslims are good and peace-loving individuals as demonstrated in Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh. It was unfortunate that Maher unilaterally confuses the extremist with Muslims. This problem affects both Muslims and other religion alike. To this effect, it is recommended people join hand to defeat the extreme problems. Nobody is excusable for immoral actions that interfere with the peaceful coexistence in the world as demonstrated by Zastrow (2009, p. 242). Professor Razer Aslam makes logical reasoning that not anybody who engages in unlawful conduct must be judged based on religion but the behaviour. Despite Professor Aslam’s principled position, he could have avoided his direct attacks on the critics. He opted to have convinced them to accept his position because Maher could have held his position based on unconscious biases. Therefore, it was important for both parties to have accommodated critics and found consensus to avoid escalating the conflicts.
Regarding the case study, both the protagonist and antagonists were right in supporting their positions. Nevertheless, the hard situations that were based on opinions are dangerous because it escalated into conflict. The participants in the interview held their grounds that made the situation worse. However, the angry tone of Professor Raze Aslam demonstrated how people hold the Islamic faith. This indicated the existence of conflict thus called for an efficient conflict management.
Behfar, K J, Peterson, R S, Mannis, E A, & Trochim, W M K 2008, ‘The critical role of conflict resolution in teams: a close look at the links between conflict type, conflict management strategies, and team outcomes’, Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 93, pp. 170-188.
Eitington, J E 2007, The winning trainer, Rutledge, New York.
Fisher, N 2010, ‘A better way to manage conflict’, Political Quarterly, vol. 81, no. 3, pp. 428-430.
Kirell, A 2014, ‘CNN’s Chris Cuomo: Reza Aslan’s ‘angry’ tone demonstrated what people fear from Islam’, Mediate, retrieved 4 May 2017 <https://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-chris-cuomo-reza-aslans-angry-tone-demonstrated-what-people-fear-from-islam/>
Zastrow, C 2009, Social work with groups: a comprehensive workbook, Seventh Edition, Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.
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