Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center spent years attacking actor Russell Brand as a hopeless, crazy liberal. In 2014, for example, Kristine Marsh and Matt Philbin wrote a post headlined "Branding Russell: Moonbat Ravings of a C-List Celeb," which accused him of being a "champagne socialist" who was spreading "unoriginal, often hate-filled, intolerant left-wing rants that run to conspiracy theories about corporations and “power structures, as well as "perpetually auditioning for MSNBC talking head job." The attacks on Brand regularly continued for having opinions the MRC didn't like:
- NBC Hypes Far-Left Actor Russell Brand and His ‘Big Thoughts on Big Issues’
- Russell Brand Takes His Fox Hatred Directly to Fox News Headquarters, Gets Threatened With Arrest
- Far-Left Celebrity Russell Brand Is 'Open' to 9/11 Trutherism
- Russell Brand Connects Income Inequality to Ferguson
- Far-Left Actor Russell Brand Lumps Che Guevara With Jesus, Gandhi, Malcolm X
- As Millionaire Russell Brand Faces Hypocrisy Charges, CBS Cheers Comic (followed by a column by Tim Graham and Brent Bozell cheering that Brand was "exposed by the British press as a fraud. He's just another champagne socialist playacting")
- Wacky: British Magazine Readers Deem Russell Brand 'World's Fourth Most Influential Thinker'
- Lefty Russell Brand 'On a Mission' to Expose Bankers 'Who Killed Our Society'
- Russell Brand with Naomi Klein: 'We Need to Kill Our Inner Trump'
- Larry King Talks About the 'Sharing' of Socialism With 'Almost Jesus-Like' Russell Brand
But sometime after 2017, when that last post was written, the MRC changed its mind about Brand -- just as it did about Ricky Gervais and J.K. Rowling -- when he started spouting conservative correct things, shoving its previous attacks on him down the memory hole. Alexander Hall wrote in an April 21 post:
Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand interviewed University of Toronto Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson and took time to hammer Big Tech companies.
Brand, a famous liberal free thinker, torched the idea that Western Civilization can thrive without personal freedom. He suggested that the flaw of modern progressivism was that it failed to observe “something that I can plainly see before my eyes, that big corporations and state power are collaborating in order to conserve power.” Brand then specified that, particularly in “Anglophonic countries” like the United States and the United Kingdom, “people are becoming less and less able to exercise agency in ordinary life.”
Brand skewered the political and Big Tech establishment for using the COVID-19 crisis to invade the lives of ordinary people:
Brand explained his concern with modern “progressivism” as corporations have famously gone woke in order to adapt to social change while maintaining profits. Brand illustrated that progressivism has been “used to underwrite a kind of intransigence around power, and I think it’s used as a panacea to dissolve the voices of discontented people.”
Hall was silent on the fact that his employer spent the previous several years denigrating Brand for being a "famous liberal free thinker." A month later, Hall touted Brand again, this time for spreading election conspiracy theories:
Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand interviewed independent journalist Glenn Greenwald and raked Big Tech companies over the coals for interfering with the 2020 election.
“Did the media and social media conspire together to keep information about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s relationship with foreign energy companies out of the media?” Brand asked in a preview video for his podcast. “The answer is: yes, they did.” Brand shared clips from his interview with Greenwald about corruption in the media.
“[R]evelations that there are financial connections between energy companies in the Ukraine, energy companies in China, and the Biden family, are troubling,” Brand explained. “That should be public knowledge. And it’s even more troubling that Twitter and Facebook and the media at large deliberately kept it out of the news because they didn’t want it to influence the election.”
This, of course, is the same conspiracy theory the MRC has been peddling.
In a December 2021 post, Hall again proclaimed Brand a "free thinker" as he promoted another pro-Trump, anti-"big tech" conspiracy the MRC loves:
Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand called out the fact that Twitter once represented the Wild West of free speech, but has since become a machine for controlling public opinion. The unexpected rise of former President Donald Trump propelled the shift, he observed.
Trump may have initially become famous as a liberal entertainer, but Brand called out the big reason Big Tech and the political establishment have cracked down on Trump and his supporters. “I suppose one of the things that make me sympathetic towards affiliates of Trump, aficionados of Trump, is the way that Trump is subsequently being handled and censored and controlled,” he explained in a Dec. 1 episode of his YouTube show. After reading an excerpt from investigative reporter Matt Taibbi Substack post, noting how Trump forever discredited the establishment and undermined the media to such an extent that they “couldn't put the genie back in the bottle,” Brand explained, “What I have to acknowledge, and what I’m sympathetic towards, is censorship.”
Hall used a March 1 post to tout Brand spouting more MRC talking points:
Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand called out the American government for criminalizing misinformation, despite the government’s deep record of pushing misinformation itself.
Brand is well-known as a free-thinker and comedian, but he gave a dire warning that even he could be under threat by new government policy. “Misinformation has newly been labeled as ‘terrorism’ by the Department of Homeland Security, so I am going to speak very carefully now,” Brand said in a Feb. 22 video. “Now let’s just be very careful how we talk because misinformation ain’t just now an inconvenience. If you’re the wrong person and the misinformation is the wrong type of mis-information, mal-information, dis-informaton, then you’re, uh, actually the same as a terrorist.”
Brand mocked the credibility of the American government, noting its history of misinformation: “if you are anti-misinformation, and you’ve got a rich history of spreading the stuff, people might think you've got another agenda at play.”
Hall served even more gushing over Brand in a May 23 post:
Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand wrecked the very idea of a Disinformation Governance Board and the war on disinformation itself: “Who gives a shit about disinformation? Sort out getting baby food!”
Brand observed that the rise of evil in the modern world looks remarkably different from what many people have been taught to watch out for: “We’ve been given such a clear vision of what evil looks like,” said Brand, citing past decades’ examples of terrorism or communism, saying that now, instead “tyranny looks like what’s happening now.”
Brand went on to suggest that freedom, by its very nature, is messy, but crucial to a thriving society: “Freedom is messy, people bang each other in the ribs by mistake with their elbows, tread on each other's toes, misspeak, mispronounce, miss-say stuff all the time. But misinformation and misinformation boards are not the solution to that problem.”
Funny how the MRC praises Brand as a "free thinker" only when those thoughts mirror the MRC's own narratives and talking points.