Despite some Supreme Court rulings, yesterday was a pretty slow news day, which always puts 24/7 cable-news organizations in a bind. The shortage of topics is the only explanation for Fox News’s choice to highlight the comments of Russell Brand in a video (see above) ripping a political monologue that Jeanine Pirro unleashed on her show last Saturday night.
This is how Eric Bolling, co-host of the marvelous roundtable program “The Five,” played Brand’s rant: “First up, actor, musician and political provocateur Russell Brand has issues with Fox News and our own Judge Jeanine Pirro. Brand goes bananas in a ten-minute rambling and at times incoherent rant, comparing Fox News to the radical terror group ISIS.”
Bolling and his roundtable-mates then proceeded to dismiss Brand.
As did Sean Hannity on his show: “The left’s war on Fox News rages on tonight. This time it was actor Russell Brand who took to YouTube in a nearly 10-minute long rant to attack our very own Judge Jeanine Pirro simply for telling it like it is regarding the crisis in Iraq. Take a look.”
Then Hannity dove into the topic along with a pair of commentators.
The Brand video is indeed fun stuff. It’s 100 percent derivative fare: The comedian-actor picks apart Pirro’s rant about how President Obama is to blame for the crisis in Iraq, where the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has terrorized its way to holding swaths of northern and western Iraq.
Where Pirro references the notion of cutting “a deal with the devil, Iran,” Brand argues that “Iran is not the devil”; where Pirro says, “They are coming for us,” Brand says, “They’re not coming”; where Pirro says, “Bomb them, bomb them, keeping bombing them,” Brand says that bombing “creates more insurgents”; where Pirro says that ISIS is a “fanatical religious terrorist organization,” Brand says, “So is Fox News. It’s a fanatical terrorist propagandist organization.”
Of Pirro’s combative attitude, Brand says it’s “more dangerous than ISIS.”
All of which is to be expected. What’s not so expected is that Fox News itself would give Brand’s words the respect of a segment or two. During the discussion on “Hannity,” for example, Fox News’s own Geraldo Rivera said this: “But furthermore, where are the beheaded bodies here at Fox News? That kind of hyperbole only undermines any argument he has.”
When you’re disavowing studio decapitations, you’ve lost the PR war.
As to Brand’s allegation that Pirro’s ramblings are somehow more dangerous than ISIS, take it from a media critic: Nothing uttered on a Saturday night cable television program is more dangerous than ISIS.