Actor-turned-podcast host Russell Brand pummeled MSNBC, big pharma, and the military-industrial complex during his appearance on the latest episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher."
Brand tussled with fellow guest and liberal MSNBC analyst John Heilemann during a debate about media bias. Brand contended that all of the corporate cable news networks have an inherent bias because of pressure from their controllers. Heilemann claimed that Fox News was far worse in regards to disinformation than MSNBC – the network that signs his checks.
Brand declared, "But I have to say that it's, it's disingenuous to claim that the biases exhibited on Fox News are any different from the biases exhibited on MSNBC."
"It's difficult to suggest that's because these corporations operate as anything other than mouthpieces for their affiliate owners in Blackrock and Vanguard," Brand continued. "We've have to take responsibility for our own perspective."
Brand said, "I've been on that MSNBC. Man, it was a propagandist nut-crackery over there."
Brand spoke about previously appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show, "It was absurd the way they carried on."
"No one could concentrate, they didn't understand the basic tenets of journalism," the comedian stated.
"No one was willing to stick up for genuine American heroes like Edward Snowden," Brand proclaimed. "No one was willing to talk about Julian Assange and what he's suffered – trying to bring real journalism to the American people."
"I think to sit within the castle of MSNBC throwing rocks at Fox News is ludicrous. Make MSNBC better. Make MSNBC great again," Brand said.
A perturbed Heilemann lashed out, "You don't actually know anything about any of these organizations you're talking about. You've been on MSNBC once – big f***ing deal! You don't have a single actual fact."
Heilemann challenged Brand to provide one example of an MSNBC correspondent or anchor saying something they knew was false on TV.
Brand gladly accepted the challenge.
"The ludicrous, outrageous criticisms of Joe Rogan around ivermectin," Brand retorted. "Deliberately referring to this as a horse medicine when they know this an effective medicine."
Brand raised another example, "What about Rachel Maddow turning up on the TV saying, 'If you take this vaccine you're not gonna get it."
Heilemann simply dismissed Brand's examples without explaining why.
The "Stay Free" podcast host then questioned the MSNBC analyst, "Do you think you can improve America by avowedly condemning Fox News without acknowledging that you're participating in the same game?"
Brand called for systemic changes, and taking money out of politics.
"We need new political systems that genuinely represent ordinary Americans so that we can overcome cultural differences," Brand told Bill Maher. "And bickering about which propagandist network is the worst is not going to save a single American life, not improve the life of a single American child, not going to improve America's standing in the world, and the world needs a strong America. I'll tell you that."
Brand told Heilemann, "So you have an obligation, a duty, not to condemn these people."
(WARNING: Explicit language)
Maher said the pandemic dissenters are "looking better these days."
Brand delivered a comedic take on the origin of COVID-19. He suggested that COVID came from a Wuhan lab leak and not the wet market that was touted as the origin of the deadly outbreak.
Maher sarcastically joked, "How could it not be a possibility? It's a lab in Wuhan where the virus started that studied the virus and was doing gain of function research on the virus. How could it not be?"
Heilemann blamed the politicization of the COVID-19 origin debate on former President Donald Trump.
"If you go back to that time, why do people seize on the notion that they'll reject the lab-leak theory? Because like everything else in COVID, Donald Trump politicized it from day one," Heilemann theorized.
Brand pushed back by saying, "It seems that it's not solely the responsibility of Donald Trump that this issue has become politicized. When we take the issue of natural immunity, the efficacy of masks, it's difficult not to posit that perhaps increasingly a centralized authority becomes subject to inquiry that it has never before faced because of the advancement of technology, because of our media ability to communicate, they are doubling down on authoritarianism."
Brand also delivered a warning about big pharma and the military-industrial complex.
"If you have an economic system in which pharmaceutical companies benefit hugely from medical emergencies, where a military-industrial complex benefits from war, where energy companies benefit from energy crisis, you are going to get states of perpetual crisis where the interests of ordinary people, separate from the interests of the elite," Brand asserted.
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