Russell Brand is angry over a report that he cheated on his girlfriend in one of Rupert Murdoch's British tabloid papers. To retaliate, Brand is threatening to sue the paper. Meanwhile, he let loose on Murdoch and his so-called journalism in an op-ed in The Guardian yesterday. Calling Murdoch "an animatronic al-Qaida recruitment poster" was just the beginning of Brand's epic rant.
Brand wrote about Murdoch and his Sun tabloid:
Rupert Murdoch, an animatronic al-Qaida recruitment poster, in his private letter to Sun staff, after the News of the World was briefly closed for a makeover (not through remorse, or shame, no, because they couldn't sell advertising space and because he wanted to launch the Sun on Sunday anyway because it's cheaper to run one title than two – some guys get all the luck) referred consistently to his pride in the Sun as "a trusted news source". Trusted is the word he used, not trustworthy. We know the Sun is not trustworthy and so does he. He uses the word "trusted" deliberately. Hitler was trusted, it transpired he was not trustworthy.
This is over the top for me but as I wrote on Addicting Info:
if you push past Brand’s attention-getting rhetoric, he makes some solid points, especially about Murdoch’s relentless attacks on the most vulnerable among us:
(Murdoch’s papers) forever print tabloid tales of benefit cheats on the swindle, which is bad – I used to do it – but the reality that we lose £1bn a year on all benefit fraud combined, and £25bn on tax avoidance and evasion by big companies and the super rich is seldom reported. Why don’t we read that story in the Sun? Perhaps it’s because, as Rupert said in his private email, the Sun would “continue to fight for its beliefs”. Of course, the Sun believes in an easy ride for big corporations – it is a big corporation, Newscorp is one of the biggest there is.
Sound familiar? Although Murdoch’s Fox News Channel obsesses endlessly about welfare/food stamp moochers, when was the last time you saw anything there about the tax loopholes big corporations exploit? No, me neither.
Brand also nicely illustrated the double standard for salaciousness in a satisfying swipe at Murdoch's tawdry divorce. Citing reports that Murdoch's third ex-wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, had overnighted at Tony Blair's during their marriage, Brand wrote:
I admit I read the story about his wife Wendi and Tony Blair in the Mail on Sunday last weekend and how they slept in the same house on numerous occasions, without ol' Digger knowing.
This being a story about powerful, litigious people, it was composed in befittingly genteel terms; the pair are described as having a "friendship". Imagine the pejorative bilge that they'd stir up and slap on, if it'd been a yarn not about tycoons and warlords but about people outside of the mainstream; an out-of-favour celeb, an immigrant or a gypsy.
Then we'd be reading about "suspicious, nocturnal trysts" or sleazy secret liaisons.
So whether or not you like Brand's stylings, you've got to like a guy with Brand's high profile who's willing and able to stick it to Murdoch.