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General News    H4'ed 6/13/14

Canada's Media Exports of the Future--Vice and Real News--Compete for Our Attention

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Shane is now doing very well thank you--works very hard, no doubt--and list his net worth at a whopping $400 million before the Time Warner deal puts him in the same league as Dr. Dre, he of the Beats earphones, just acquired by Apple. (Recent exposes allege that Vice exploits its intern army but who in the industry cares about that!)

Vice started as a magazine focused on arts, culture and some news in Montreal where it was subsidized by the very socialist policies he now decries with grants from the local government.

The company has already lost one of its founding partners, Gavin McInnes. who started out in the punk band, Anal Chinook. Wikipedia tells us McInnes co-founded Vice in 1994, "His role as an editor at Vice led to him being referred to as "the Godfather of hipsterdom" and one of the "primary architects of hipsterdom." He left Vice in 2007 due to "creative differences."

He has moved further right after publishing his memoir, "How to Piss in Public." He seems to delight in outraging journalist with statements designed to get attention by insulting and offending (ie. pissing off?) various politically correct constituencies. Vice has already apologized for his antics.

Writing on Huffington Post, TV critic Maureen Ryan asks: "Do the "Vice" correspondents ever think they're being played by forces that are using this hipster media outlet to their own ends? Do they care? It's hard to escape the sense that they do." She finds their shows "egocentric."

Whatever. None of this matters in a world where very little, save a relatively low--cost journalism of titillation matters. I was at a VICE screening at the Time Warner building a while back and tried to challenge Smith about a new film that did not teach viewers anything new about North Korea--even its human rights abuses or the fact that it lost a million people in the Korean War and may have reasons to be paranoid.

He thanked me for my opinion and moved on. The no-nothing media loves the perception of his "courage." He has no time for debates of issues of the kind Paul Jay used to organize.

As Real News calls our attention to the underside of American life and the need for global change, Vice wants to blow us way with how to be hip by oogling their "products," --and, of course the bounty of advertising they expect to attract once their channel is up and running. Google is promoting their channel during the World Cup.

Theirs is a formula that plays to our tabloid instincts and low attention spans while pretending to be the next big thing. It is reality TV meets the news, and that may yet eat the news.

"Update--The Wrap: Smith wants Vice to be the next Time Warner

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at See
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