The morning NOW: 7/31/13

Updated
Credit: Fox News
Credit: Fox News

Today on NOW, Alex is joined by America’s favorite biblical scholar and inadvertent internet sensation Reza Aslan, who will be discussing his new book,  Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Also on the show:

Kurt Andersen, Radio Host, “Studio 360”/ Author “True Believers” (@kbandersen)

Heather McGhee, Vice President, Demos (@hmcghee)

David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief, Mother Jones/ msnbc Political Analyst (@davidcorndc)

Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (@econjared)

Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights, Attorney for Wikileaks and Julian Assange (@justleft)

PJ Crowley, Fmr. Assistant Sec. of State, Fmr. Spokesman, State Department (@PJCROWLEY)

First up, the Bradley Manning verdict is being hailed as a bittersweet victory for his supporters and free speech advocates. Manning was acquitted of “aiding the enemy”, the most serious charge against him and the one with the biggest implications for civil liberties. In an editorial, The New York Times writes “To convict under this law without requiring at least an intent to communicate with an enemy would have severely chilling implications for free speech, particularly in the age of the Internet.” However, Manning still faces a possible 136 years in prison for other charges, and this marks the first conviction of a whistleblower under the espionage act. What are the implications of this case for journalism and free speech? Is this a “serious abuse” of government power as Wikileaks founder Julian Asange has alleged?

You have to hand it to Reza Aslan. He walked into what is widely regarded as one of, if not THE single, most embarrassing interview in Fox News history, and emerged on the other side with a #1 best seller on Amazon. And with good reason! He’ll be joining Alex to discuss his his new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and his unwitting participation in what has instantly become one of the most viral videos in the world. While the interview speaks volumes about the attitude of Fox News towards Muslims, what does it tell us about those of America at large?

Finally, the pork jokes are flying as the Rand/Christie beef escalates. While it certainly makes for entertaining viewing, it also illustrates the growing rifts in the GOP, in this case over the scope of US intelligence gathering and federal assistance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. As the Republican Party struggles to define itself in the wake of its 2012 debacle, what will it look like and can it remain relevant?  Are we seeing a preview of the 2016 primaries?

It all happens at 12pm ET.

The morning NOW: 7/31/13

Updated