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."

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.