Is Shane Smith the next Rupert Murdoch?

Shane-SmithDoes VICE have any semblance of cool left now that it is owned in part by News Corp. and top consultant Tom Freston (once of Viacom); has a TV series on HBO; bought a corporate branding company (Carrot Creative); etc., etc.? BBC News seems to think that VICE’s head hipster Shane Smith is well on the way to becoming the next Rupert Murdoch, scary as that may sound:

Shane Smith looks like the type of man who enjoys getting into fights in rough bars.

With his beard and tattoos, the big bear of a 44-year-old Canadian can appear rather intimidating. You wouldn’t want to spill his pint.

Looks can be deceptive, however, as through brains rather than brawn Mr Smith has built up a personal fortune of $400m (£240m).

The founder and boss of New York-based Vice Media, he could very well be the next Rupert Murdoch, such is his ambition for global domination.

Mr Murdoch himself seems to think it is possible, as last year the media mogul’s News Corporation group spent $70m buying a 5% stake in Vice.

The two men toasted the deal by going for a beer in a Brooklyn bar.

‘Immersion journalism’
But for those of us above a certain age, or who aren’t very fashionable, what exactly is Vice?

It is a multimedia business that includes an eponymous website and a growing number of sister sites, its own channel on YouTube, and an advertising agency.

It also has a TV show on US cable station HBO, a print magazine, a record label and a book publishing division…

[continues at BBC News]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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  • tibby trillz

    400 million? thanks unpaid interns.

  • Anarchy Pony

    So we should kill him now is what you’re saying?

  • American Cannibal

    Vice is Lame

    • Thurlow Weed

      Some of the video adventures they go on look risky. I’ll give them that. But lame is definitely one of the multiple choice answers possible.

      • American Cannibal

        Lame, and now in cahoots with a Murdoch.

        ‘Nuff Said.

  • Thurlow Weed

    Vice appeals to the “progressive” layer of the infotainment market. That’s a bit left of where Murdoch plants his bloody flag. It’s within the realm of possibilities that some day the tattooed Shane could become as dirty as Murdoch but at this point I’d characterize the business between these two as economic opportunism, and Shane has a ways to go before he can be called a lying sack of shit. He’s put his foot in that direction, though.

    • Dingbert

      I disagree, Vice has always been a safe haven for Far Right Hipsters. See founders Smith and McInnes’ political beliefs. McInnes now writes for VDARE.

      • Thurlow Weed

        Curious. Do you have links to Vice content that advances a far-right agenda, hipster or otherwise?

        • Dingbert

          “Dos and Don’ts” gives some hints.

 (NSFW, by the way)

          It’s usually stuff they say in non-Vice media, though.

          • Thurlow Weed

            That sample of Do’s and Don’t’s, from 2004, is totally racist, sexist shit. Current samples are muted but only a little. Vice’s series on Home Box Office doesn’t dip into the same cesspool of backwardness that Do’s and Don’t’s flows out of but it is still Vice content, and that’s very telling about who is in charge there.

      • Monkey See Monkey Do

        Interesting. From what I’ve seen from Vice they always have a very shallow or authoritarian agenda in the way they frame the issues they explore. It’s like Ross Kemp on gangs, occasionally the topic is interesting but the issues are deflated to hopeless nihilism for which an authority must take over. Systemic causes and solutions are often overlooked.

  • BuzzCoastin

    all media companies are purely vice
    and vice versa

  • jasonpaulhayes

    Its an old trick…when you find out grandpa has dementia you ask him to borrow money.