Image Source: Vice.
It is hard to believe how many people subscribe to simplistic political explanations of the way the world works, when the world is plainly so messed up that it defies easy labels. That discrepancy between reality and the explanations which we (and the media) project onto reality inspires cognitive dissonance, moral confusion and misunderstandings.
For a media outlet which sometimes conveys some of that mucked-up, holistic reality, have a look at the international arts and culture magazine, Vice. The MSM have sometimes dismissed the Vice co-founders as controversial conservatives. It's an odd thing to contend, given that Vice will premiere on TV on HBO starting 5 April 2013, and the executive producer is left-leaning (but still sometimes politically ambiguous) Bill Maher.
If Vice's critics had bothered to do any research, they would learn that Vice's founding executive are graduates of Carleton University, a progressive bastion criticized by fire-breathing conservatives as one of Canada's most left-wing colleges.
Politicized critiques completely misrepresent Vice. It is a maverick media outlet whose founders refuse to fit into easy boxes. But the MSM are so defined by stultified political convictions that anything outside their compartmentalized thinking simply does not compute. Vice's ironic point of view reveals a Millennial-era disenchantment with simplistic, inaccurate and outdated politics.
Some of that alienation is generational. Co-founder Gavin McInnes at one point conducted an outrageous, mocking interview which crossed a lot of anti-racist wires; he was not indulging in racism. He was, when confronted with an interviewer who was trying to pigeonhole him as a conservative, satirizing the presumptions of big media: "baby boomer media like The New York Times is a laughing stock, and we should do whatever we can to ridicule it." This point of view (from 2003) reflects a Gen X disenchantment with politicized Boomer-run media and entertainment.
Meanwhile, when the Guardian tried ham-fistedly in 2008 to corner co-founder Shane Smith on Vice's politics, Smith commented:
Politicized media commentators cannot grasp that this is not just an attempt to dodge the question. However, the anti-ideological perspective is the only remaining viewpoint that seeks to see reality as it really is, right now. If we want to have any hope of solving global problems, we must confront them without being hampered by ideological mumbo-jumbo and old school propaganda filling our heads with nonsense.
Smith calls the Vice style of reporting 'immersionism.' For an example of Vice's post-political reporting, see their coverage of North Korean labour camps in Siberia in 2011. The reporter is Smith, a Canadian Gen Xer from Ottawa, opaquely posing sometimes as an American, making his way with another journalist (Simon Ostrovsky), a translator (Kim Yung Zun) and a cameraman (Jason Mojica) on the Trans-Siberian railway to locate a constantly moving North Korean logging operation. The operation provides logs for Russian export abroad, contracted by a British venture company, with some profits returning to North Korea. There are no easy political answers in the video below: it is what it is. The video source is Vice. It also appears on Youtube here.