The hosts of CBS This Morning on Tuesday hailed liberal comedian (and multi-millionaire) Russell Brand on his crusade for "affordable housing." The British comic was protesting in London against a proposed real estate development that would displace some low income residents.
Co-host Gayle King played audio of a British reporter grilling Brand about his opulent home, including an estimated $7802 (in American dollars) monthly rent. Journalist Paraic O'Brien demanded, "What kind of rent are you paying?" Brand avoided the question and attacked Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. Pointing to Cameron's home at 10 Downing Street, he assailed that there is "no more expensive piece of real estate in London than that one." [MP3 audio here.]
O'Brien quipped, "I'd say your house is nearly on par."
Unsurprisingly, the journalists sided with Brand. King cheered, "All right, Russell Brand!" Co-anchor Charlie Rose concluded, "Russell got the better part of that [argument.]"
With no sense of irony, King explained, "London property prices, by the way, are skyrocketing because of heavy demand from wealthy buyers." She didn't point out that Brand is worth over $15 million.
Another morning show, NBC's Today, in October touted Brand and his "big thoughts on big issues." This is the same guy who trashed Fox News as a "fanatical terrorist propagandist organization." He's also labeled profit to be a "dirty word."
A transcript of the December 2 segment is below:
GAYLE KING: Comedian Russell Brand had to get serious on Monday over affording affordable housing. He joined hundreds of activists marching against a London development that would displace middle class families. When the demonstrators got to the Prime Minister's house, a reporter confronted Russell Brand.
PARAIC O'BRIEN: I mean, part of the problem is the super rich buying property in London. Isn't it? How much did you pay for your place?
RUSSELL BRAND: It's rented. No –
O'BRIEN: What kind of rent are you paying?
BRAND: I'm not interested in talking to you about my rent, mate. I'm here to support a very, very important campaign. And you, as a member of the media, have an important duty to help represent these people, not to reframe the argument.
O'RBRIEN: Yeah. No, but we are. But, it's still a point, isn't it?
BRAND: No, the point is this--
O'BRIEN: The demand that the super rich are putting on the London property market – You're part of that problem, aren't you?
BRAND: Unless – I don't know what you're proposing – No, absolutely not. I would completely deny that. I'd say I'm part of the solution. People coming together to amplify the voices of ordinary people. That's precisely what's needed. [Pointing to 10 Downing St. behind him.] There's no greater, more expensive piece of real estate in London than that one. And the people in there are the people that have an obligation. Let's not get distracted.
O'BRIEN: I'd say your house – I'd say your house is nearly on par.
BRAND: Well, it's rented. We don't know the value. You'd have to talk to my landlord. Blessedly, I can afford my rent and I'm prepared to stand up for people that can't. It's been lovely talking to you.
KING: All right, Russell Brand!
CHARLIE ROSE: Russell got the better part of that.
KING: I think so too! "Mate, I'm not prepared to talk about that." And he made his points. London property prices, by the way, are skyrocketing because of heavy demand from wealthy buyers.