Media focuses on manufactured controversy on History Channel's 'The Bible', ignores powerful message and meaning

Over the weekend, Glenn tweeted out that Mehdi Ouazanni, the actor who plays Satan in History Channel's The Bible, happened to look a little like President Obama once he was in full make-up. Of course, the media latched onto the tweet and has used it to put a controversial and negative spin on the amazing new television series. But why have they ignored the series up until now? Glenn shared a personal story on radio this morning about how the show has helped his family, how it could help others, and shamed the media's coverage of the breakout show.

"I want to talk to you about something deeply personal here but also related to the series The Bible.  Friday I'm ahead on the series of The Bible because I was asked to review it and we haven't had a chance to watch all of it and we finished it last Sunday and it still I think has two more weeks to go on the History Channel.  And on Friday I tweeted, I don't even know when it was.  I think it was like 11:00 at night, I think, but we had watched The Bible series and I had tweeted something I thought was a funny comment and I said, 'You have to watch The Bible this weekend because you won't believe how much the devil looks like Barack Obama.'"

"If you look, if you look at this thing, you just, you can't deny.  Now, did they go out and they try to find an actor to look like him?  No.  Did he, did he try to make it look ‑‑ no, he didn't."

But rather than notice the obvious physical similarities, laugh, and move on with their lives - several in the media decided to take Glenn's tweet and use it to create controversy around The Bible and its producers.

"Here's what's really happening with this. First of all, the networks didn't want to take Mark Burnett's show. They didn't want to take it. They didn't want to run a series that was the number one show in all of television on the History Channel. It had higher ratings than American Idol. They are so out of touch with you, the American people; or they have such an agenda that they will flush down ratings and connect with actual people for their agenda or because they're clueless. You decide which is which."

"Then when it was picked up by the History Channel, then what happens? Then nobody wants to do interviews with these guys."

"Here's Mark Burnett, one of the ‑‑ he's got five, count them, five nights where his shows are number one on different networks. He has five nights in a row, currently! The guy is the biggest name in television and they don't want to do an interview with him on this Bible thing that you're doing, you freak. So they ignore him. They don't pick it up. Then they ignore him. Then it becomes number one and they just do a quick hit on it and move on."

"And then it fades into oblivion. The ratings still hold. Nobody says a word. And then Friday I make an offhanded remark on Twitter and now the media is in an absolute firestorm."

"Now here, here is this media so completely out of control that for their own agenda of, I think believe it or not, I think to try to teach Mark Burnett a lesson: Don't you do anything like this ever again because we'll ignore you and then we'll smear you."

Sadly, the power of The Bible to inspire hope and love through its message has been ignored amid all the controversy. And rather than spend his time attacking the "journalists" who have decided to use his tweet to attack The Bible series, it's producers, or himself, Glenn decided to share a story that demonstrates why people need to be watching the show.

"On Sunday night we watched the last episode of The Bible. This is the crucifixion and the resurrection."

"If you're a long‑time listener of this program, you know that we have been on the verge of losing our dog. Quite honestly it has been a battle where I have felt like the bad guy because my family has not been able to let go and I have been watching my dog... suffer. And I have stood quietly trying to ask, 'Please, family, let's let him go.' My son and I are going to dig his grave on Friday, and Saturday at noon at our home, we're going to put him to sleep. Sunday we decided to do it, and my son, who is 8, took it exceptionally hard on Sunday. I think the reality truly set in, and we as a family cried all Sunday afternoon and all Sunday night. And we were all down on the floor."

"Last night we were on the kitchen floor sitting right by his spot where he always sits when we eat dinner and read our scripture. And we all got down on the floor and we read Psalms - not to him but to us. My son was almost inconsolable on Sunday."

"And we started to watch The Bible, the Mark Burnett show. And it showed the crucifixion and it showed the death. my wife and I were with the kids and we knew what was coming and we knew that it would be good. And my son got off the bed at one point and went down onto a floor where he sat with Victor and he laid on him and sobbed, and petted him."

"But in the point of the movie where Christ rises and there is eternal life, Raphe turned his head to the television and we began to talk about how we'll see Victor again and how death is just temporary separation."

"There are people and forces in this world that don't want you to believe that. There are people and forces of this world that don't believe it themselves. They don't understand the peaceful message. They don't understand the comfort. They don't understand the meaning of that one man's life. Everything to them needs to be turned into some political debate. Because of ratings, everything needs to be divisive. Because of what they believe and because they will not tolerate, they do not believe in freedom of speech, they do not believe in the individual choice, they do not believe in the true message of Jesus, they believe in collective salvation, that somehow or another we all have to save everybody, where we are truly powerless. They will look for anything, anything at all, to divide us, to isolate, to teach a lesson to Mr. Burnett and Roma Downey, 'You are in a space, that you are not welcome and we will not welcome you in that space. We will ignore you or if need be, we will ridicule you. We will smear you, but we will not talk about the amazing power of a movie that when I was a kid networks would have begged to air.'"

"Because I think maybe, just maybe back then there were a few more people that understood because they had actually seen it in their own lives, the power, of the story of redemption, forgiveness, and eternal life."

"I don't know what you have going on in your life. It's been a hard year for us. The last 12 or 18 months have been extraordinarily difficult. And I'm not the only man who has struggled with the end days of his best friend, nor will I be the last, nor will this be the last time that I struggle with this decision. But we found peace. Even though we have hard work ahead of us in the next few days, we know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

"A personal note: I thank Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for their courage, for their inspiration, for their willingness. I wrote to them yesterday, and I'll say it publicly: I apologize for being so foolish to think that one can still joke today. Please don't be lost in the message of the media. If you haven't watched The Bible yet, this is the most important episode, and it's coming up Sunday. A vision, a gift that I haven't seen ever before on television."

I think we can all agree, both on the Left and the Right, that children who have been caught up in illegal immigration is an awful situation. But apparently what no one can agree on is when it matters to them. This past weekend, it suddenly — and even a little magically — began to matter to the Left. Seemingly out of nowhere, they all collectively realized this was a problem and all rushed to blame the Trump administration.

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Here's Rachel Maddow yesterday:

I seem to remember getting mocked by the Left for showing emotion on TV, but I'll give her a pass here. This is an emotional situation. But this is what I can't give her a pass on: where the heck was this outrage and emotion back in 2014? Because the same situation going on today — that stuff Maddow and the rest of the Left have only just now woken up to — was going on back in July 2014! And it was arguably worse back then.

I practically begged and pleaded for people to wake up to what was going on. We had to shed light on how our immigration system was being manipulated by people breaking our laws, and they were using kids as pawns to get it done. But unlike the gusto the Left is using now to report this story, let's take a look at what Rachel Maddow thought was more important back in 2014.

On July 1, 2014, Maddow opened her show with a riveting monologue on how President Obama was hosting a World Cup viewing party. That's hard-hitting stuff right there.

On July 2, 2014, Maddow actually acknowledged kids were at the border, but she referenced Health and Human Services only briefly and completely rushed through what was actually happening to these kids. She made a vague statement about a "policy" stating where kids were being taken after their arrival. She also blamed Congress for not acting.

See any difference in reporting there from today? That "policy" she referenced has suddenly become Trump's "new" policy, and it isn't Congress's fault… it's all on the President.

She goes on throughout the week.

On July 7, 2014, her top story was something on the Koch brothers. Immigration was only briefly mentioned at the end of the show. This trend continued all the way through the week. I went to the border on July 19. Did she cover it? Nope. In fact, she didn't mention kids at the border for the rest of the month. NOT AT ALL.

Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not?

Make up your minds. Is this an important issue or not? Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not? Do you even care to fix it, or is this what it looks like — just another phony, addicted-to-outrage political stunt?

UPDATE: Here's how this discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Glenn gives Rachel Maddow the benefit of the doubt

Rachel Maddow broke down in tears live on her MSNBC show over border crisis.

Progressives think the Obamas are a gift to the world. But their gift is apparently more of the metaphorical kind. It doesn't extend to helpful, tangible things like saving taxpayers money. Illinois has approved $224 million to pay for street and transportation upgrades around the planned site of the Obama Presidential Center. The catch is that Illinois taxpayers will have to cover $200 million of that cost. For a presidential museum.

Eight years of multiplying the national debt wasn't enough for Barack Obama. Old fleecing habits die hard. What's another $200 million here and there, especially for something as important as an Obama tribute center?

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That's all well and good except Illinois can't even fund its pension system. The state has a $137 billion funding shortfall. That means every person in Illinois owes $11,000 for pensions, and there is no plan to fix the mess. Unless Illinois progressives have discovered a new kind of math, this doesn't really add up. You can't fund pensions, but you're going to figure out a way to milk the public for another $200 million to help cover the cost of a library?

It's hard to imagine who in their right mind would think this will be money well spent. Well, except for maybe Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who said, "The state's… investment in infrastructure improvements near the Obama Center on the South Side of Chicago is money well spent."

Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

The spending has already been signed into law, even though the Obama library has not received construction approval yet. Part of the holdup is that the proposed site is on public land in historic Jackson Park. That doesn't seem very progressive of the Obamas, but, you know, for certain presidents, you go above and beyond. It's just what you do. Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

Here's the thing about taxing the peasants so the king can build a fancy monument to himself – it's wrong. And completely unnecessary. The Obamas have the richest friends on the planet who could fund this project in their sleep. If the world simply must have a tricked-out Obama museum, then let private citizens take out their wallets voluntarily.

As the Mercury Museum proved this weekend, it is possible to build an exhibit with amazing artifacts that attracts a ton of visitors – and it cost taxpayers approximately zero dollars.

'The fool builds walls': China blasts Trump over tariffs

NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

I can picture it now: Thousands of years ago, Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, standing before hordes of his followers, in the Qin Dynasty, with a bright red bamboo hat on, and chanting, "Build that wall!"

It took a couple centuries to build the thing, but it got built. And it has been carefully maintained over the last 2,000 years, but, today, the Great Wall of China is so massive that astronauts can see it during good weather conditions from the lower part of low Earth orbit. The wall boasts over 3,000 miles of towers and brick embankments, with over 1,200 miles of natural defensive barriers. It's worth mentioning that the Chinese government is also exceptionally good at imposing digital walls, so much so that China ranks worst in the world for internet freedom.

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So it's a little strange to hear an editorial run by a major news network in China criticized President Trump for his proposal to build a large wall along the southern border of America.

"Following the path of expanding and opening up is China's best response to the trade dispute between China and the United States, and is also the responsibility that major countries should have to the world," the author wrote. "The wise man builds bridges, the fool builds walls."

Similarly, the Pope told reporters in 2016, "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel."

Don't throw stones at people who want to build walls when you live in place surrounded by walls.

If you've been to the Vatican, you know that it is surrounded by enormous walls. The same goes for all the celebrities who live in heavily walled compounds—a safety measure—but who have also vehemently criticized President Trump's plans to build a wall.

You know the adage: "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at other people's glass houses." Perhaps the phrase needs an update: Don't throw stones at people who want to build walls when you live in place surrounded by walls.

An immaculate Nazi doctor hovers over newborn. He probes and sneers at it. "Take it away," he says. This is the very real process that Nazi doctors undertook during the era of Nazi Germany: Nazi eugenics, the studious, sterile search to find children who would define a pure breed for the German lineage. The Übermensch.

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During a speech to a delegation of Italy's Family Association in Rome on Saturday, Pope Francis referred to this cruel Nazi practice, which he used as a comparison to the increasingly popular process throughout Europe of "ending" birth defects, by offering abortions to women who have babies with chromosomal defects.

Here are two passages from the Pope's remarks:

I have heard that it's fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let's send it away.

And:

I say this with pain. In the last century the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today we do the same, but now with white gloves.

When CNN got the quote, and it shocked them so much that they had to verify the quote with the Vatican—in other words, it didn't fit the usual narrative.

It didn't fit the usual narrative.

The Pope also addressed claims that he has dedicated himself to LGBTQ causes:

Today, it is hard to say this, we speak of "diversified" families: different types of families. It is true that the word "family" is an analogical word, because we speak of the "family" of stars, family" of trees, "family" of animals ... it is an analogical word. But the human family in the image of God, man and woman, is the only one. It is the only one. A man and woman can be non-believers: but if they love each other and unite in marriage, they are in the image of God even if they don't believe.

The media have largely seen Pope Francis as the cool Pope, as the Obama of Catholicism. It'll be interesting to see how abruptly and severely that perspective changes.