Comedian Russell Brand took to his web series The Trews to rip Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly for “getting the wrong message” from history after suggesting that the Berlin Wall is an example of how to solve the influx of immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border.
In a segment of his show with guest Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush’s top strategist, O’Reilly said “a border fence like they did in East Germany” may be the way to handle undocumented migrants fleeing areas of South and Central America in search of better environs.
“[T]hat wasn’t actually a triumph of social engineering, or even architecture,” Brand then said of the Berlin Wall. “That wall became a symbol for all that was wrong with the world — a country riven in two, the epitome of the Cold War, a symbol of conflict, dishonor, and disdain. Surely, Bill will say, ‘Let’s never again repeat these horrors.’”
Brand cut back to O’Reilly, who said, “I was there, when that wall came down — and nobody could get through that fence. It was a formidable obstacle. Israelis have done the same thing to keep out terrorism there. So, we haven’t done that on the southern [US] border.”
Brand then interceded, saying, “Bill, he’s really learning the wrong lessons from life. Bill fails to absorb the most obvious lessons of history — the Berlin Wall was bad, what’s happening between Israel and Palestine is bad. These aren’t tidbits of knowledge that you should pick up and apply to America.”
O’Reilly went on to advocate a National Guard presence on the US-Mexico border, akin to such a military action in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or after the brutal beating by police of Rodney King that led to riots across Los Angeles in 1991.
“No, Bill, you’re getting the wrong message again!” Brand then said, adding that the unrest following Katrina and during the LA riots were a result of social inequality and a lack of infrastructure afforded to the least fortunate communities in the US.
Brand goes on to connect this social unrest to a corporation like General Electric, which, Brand said, took home $108 billion in profit last year, yet paid no net domestic taxes by storing those profits overseas. But yet O’Reilly, Brand said, chooses to focus on punitive measures against immigrants “looking for a better life.”
“So, what I’m suggesting Bill, is that instead of trying to study some of the worst atrocities in history — both world, and American — look at the excessive corporate world and why don’t you advocate against them not paying taxes?" Brand asked. "Is it because you work for Fox, a massive corporation, and you’re a conditioned citizen, conveying only a message of corporate hegemony and disempowerment of the people?”