The battle of Sean Hannity versus Russell Brand

Russell Brand recently came out in criticism of a debate headed by the American Fox News commentator Sean Hannity over the conflict in Gaza.

Russell Brand recently came out in criticism of a debate headed by the American Fox News commentator Sean Hannity over the conflict in Gaza. Brand’s response to Hannity’s interview technique and spectacularly ignorant statements has sparked an online argument that is rather tediously being peddled as ‘Brand v Hannity.’

A quick bio of the two starring characters: 

Russell Brand – Former drug addict, quite funny man and woman botherer. Married and divorced a pop star. Intelligent and articulate. Now trying to save the world by peddling love and spirituality.

Sean Hannity – Fox ‘News’ presenter (so obviously mental), Conservative and writer of anti-liberal books. He’s also exactly what I would draw if I were asked to draw a picture of a Republican.

So if we look at the original broadcast by Hannity we can pretty quickly spot a few things about his viewpoint. For a start he has ‘SYMPATHY FOR THE TERRORISTS’ in large lettering on the screen behind him. No messing around there – I think we can tell how Sean sees this one. 

He then poses the question ‘Why is America’s largest Muslim so-called Civil Rights group showing sympathy to terrorists’? What is it you’re trying to suggest there Sean? It’s hard to tell because it’s SO SUBTLE. 

After he’s introduced his guests, he immediately turns his attention to Yousef Munayyer (from the Jerusalem fund and Palestinian Centre), asking him loaded questions. At no point is Munayyer allowed more than 19 uninterrupted seconds to respond to the questions bellowed at him. The interview continues in this vein until finally any dwindling pretence that this is a fair and balanced discussion is abandoned as Hannity flat out tells Munayyer that he can’t speak any more because he doesn’t agree with him.

He actually does that – like a child. It’s genuinely pretty disgusting.

Russell’s reply

Russell Brand then releases a video quite rightly criticising Hannity’s debating skills, although he opens with an unfortunate remark about Sean resembling a Ken doll, which is probably his only mistake during this whole affair.

Russell quite astutely de-constructs and falsifies almost everything that Sean says and he does so with an understanding of the situation that is certainly a lot better than mine. Many find Russell Brand’s style over-the-top and irritating, but say what you like about him, in this situation he’s definitely right.

The saga continues as Hannity gathers a panel that are (apart from one) just as deluded as him (not like Fox to peddle a one-sided agenda is it?) to respond to Russell’s video. This segment opens with a Katy Perry song, which is a pretty cruel dig, and Hannity then unloads a few cheap shots, calling Brand ‘ignorant’ and saying that he himself – YES! SEAN HANNITY FROM FOX NEWS! – is going to ‘educate’ him.

This sets off an irony explosion in my head so large that I don’t know what to do with myself. There should be a channel dedicated to streaming Fox ‘News’ and sounding an irony klaxon every time one of their presenters speaks. At no point does Hannity actually reply to any of Brand’s points, although one of Sean’s panel is does inconveniently point out that there is a disproportionate amounts of deaths and casualties on the Palestinian side of this conflict.

Luckily, though, another guest drags saves the day by attacking celebrities who have condemned the actions of Israel with the observation that they’re drinking ‘cocktails of stupidity and bigotry.’

PHEW, eh Sean? Narrowly avoided a balanced debate there.

And the winner of Hannity v Brand is?

Russell has responded again to Hannity’s broadcast, and what he rather cleverly does next is to not only continue to be right, but also to back up his points with actual facts. That’s quite unfair on Hannity as it takes him totally out of his comfort zone – he’s never come across a fact in his life.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a Russell Brand fan, but in this situation I think he’s right. His problem is probably that he’s an entertainer by trade and has an addictive personality (he was a drug addict, remember?), so this tends to come back and bite him.

I suspect his current addiction is to amusing people, which can be irritating when speaking about serious issues. But it’s important to remember that he’s not a politician – he IS an entertainer. 

Yes, perhaps he should quit the funny (or attempted funny) stuff when talking about serious issues, but that’s who he actually is. He should be judged by those standards and not those appropriate for politicians.

This sounded a bit like a Russell Brand love-in didn’t it? I didn’t think it would turn out like that. But, well done Russell, if you ask me.

What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.