In the 19 years since Guido was founded we have seen a lot of fads come and go, along with investors’ money and the existence of the publications themselves. Who now remembers Westmonster?
Vice was supposedly a supernova multi-billion dollar digital media company that was going to replace MTV and CNN with its new stylised video-journalism, which seemed to produce warzone reports in the manner of a music video. In 2017 Vice was valued at $5.7 billion, Guido could never figure out how Vice made money. There was very little traditional advertising. There were “brand partnerships” with cool brands. Cool brands which didn’t seem to be marketing their products, just associating themselves with another cool brand –Vice. Eventually the brands suffer a comedown from being associated with rockstar war reporters and stop wasting their money on “partnerships”, instead concentrating on boosting e-commerce markegting. Because you know what is the coolest thing? Making a profit.
Buzzfeed and its listicles have blown hundreds of millions of their investors’ money. Now they claim AI will save them from bankruptcy. Which seems to Guido to be an admission that they are completely exiting the business of journalism. Good luck to those who still have jobs at Buzzfeed subsidiary HuffPo…
Vice going bankrupt and taking down with it investments from the likes of Disney, James Murdoch and George Soros goes to show how hard it is to make video journalism pay. Guido makes occasional forays into video; these are expensive in terms of time and manpower. We have yet to figure out how to make them commercially viable. All credit to the likes of Novara Media getting supporters of their world view to finance their output – which is basically a left-wing version of radio phone ins where the presenters aggregate and regurgitate the prejudices of their audience, slicker and better with added access to talking heads. It works and we have considered it and tried it ourselves. At the end of the day we’re in the business of breaking news… and making profits.
Yesterday was Nadine Dorries’s day under attack from the left, today it’s new equalities minister Kemi Badenoch’s turn under the spotlight. Vice has published a supposedly explosive scoop claiming that, as a newly-elected backbencher in 2018, Badenoch made comments on tape that “mocked LGBTQ rights, questioned same-sex marriage, and called trans women “men””. The hack behind the piece, Ben Hunte, boasts that the comments were heard from “an explosive audio recording obtained by VICE World News.” When reading the article one thing becomes immediately obvious: the supposed audio recording is nowhere to be found. Neither is there any sort of transcript…
While there are a couple of very short quotes attributed to Badenoch, no wider context is included. The shoddiest section is on the claims that she “questioned same sex marriage”:
“In the recording, the minister also appears to mock gay marriage, and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which was spearheaded by several of her predecessors as equalities minister.”
That’s all the information the reader is given. No recording, no quote, no transcript, nothing.
Hunte has a history of this kind of sloppy reporting. From April 2019 to September 2021, he was the BBC’s “LGBT Correspondent”, where his piece on a ruling by senior judges against children having access to hormone-blocking drugs was found by the BBC’s complaints unit to have been “one-sided and risked endangering vulnerable people”:
“the article did not meet the BBC’s standards for due impartiality or the requirements of the BBC’s guidelines on reporting suicide or attempted suicide”
Guido suggests Vice swiftly rewrites the piece with proof to substantiate their claims, or it won’t just be The Huffington Post Kemi’s at war with…
Liam Young is one of Jeremy Corbyn’s main (only) media cheerleaders, you’ll often read him spinning for Jez in the Indy or New Statesman. Young has come to the Dear Leader’s aid once again with a coruscating attack on Tom Watson’s comments about Trot entryists. Under the headline “Tom Watson Needs to Stop Patronising Young People”, he seethes:
“Watson’s comments are part of a discourse which constantly tells young people they are disgraceful for not engaging with politics while simultaneously demeaning their views as worthless and implying they are naïve when they actually get involved. His suggestion that Trotskyite “old hands” are twisting the arms of young Labour supporters to move toward the “revolutionary road” to socialism is deeply offensive to the young Labour joiners who know exactly what they’re getting into, and are perfectly capable of sussing when they’re being manipulated. The main problem with Watson’s recent remarks is that he knows they are untrue.”
Watson will enjoy the irony that the article was published by Vice, which is part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. Corbynista Liam Young, another Murdoch stooge…