Vice Media, the once-edgy information outlet that constructed its status on hard-hitting investigative journalism, has apparently offered its backbone for a bucketful of riyals. It just lately eliminated its documentary “Inside Saudi Crown Prince’s Ruthless Quest for Energy” from its YouTube channel. The 9-minute movie acquired over 750,000 views earlier than being deleted simply days after being posted.
The Intercept experiences that the movie’s sudden disappearance got here scorching on the heels of Vice saying a comfy new partnership with a Saudi state-owned media group. What a coinkydink!
From The Intercept:
Vice’s description of the video, now additionally unavailable on YouTube, beforehand said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed “orchestrates The Ritz Purge, kidnaps Saudi’s elites and royal kinfolk with allegations of torture inside, and his personal males linked to the brutal hacking of Journalist Khashoggi – a homicide that surprised the world.” The outline goes on to state that Wall Road Journal reporters Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck “try to unfold the motivations of the prince’s most reckless decision-making.” Hope and Scheck are the co-authors of the 2020 guide “Blood and Oil: Mohammed bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest for World Energy.”
Within the documentary, Hope states that Crown Prince Mohammed is “disgraced internationally” owing to the Jamal Khashoggi homicide, a subject which Vice critically coated at size previously. Extra just lately, nonetheless, Vice has shifted its protection of Saudi Arabia, apparently because of the development of its business relationship with the dominion. The connection seems to have begun in 2017, owing to MBS’s youthful brother, Khalid bin Salman, being infatuated with the model; bin Salman reportedly arrange a gathering between Vice co-founder Shane Smith and MBS.
“Vice didn’t reply to a request for touch upon why the video was revealed after which made non-public or if there are any plans to make the video public once more,” experiences The Intercept.
In keeping with The Intercept, Vice now has an workplace with Saudi workers in Riyadh and has helped set up Saudi-sponsored occasions. The Intercept additionally experiences it shelved one other current story on Saudi harassment of dissidents overseas. When the Home of Saud opens its purse strings, even essentially the most vociferous critics appear to seek out themselves misplaced for phrases.
Whereas the axed documentary can nonetheless be discovered lurking on Reddit and elsewhere, its ejection from Vice’s platform is a chilling reminder of how the Saudi petrodollar can strangle free speech.
With this capitulation to Saudi censorship, Vice has left its credibility in tatters and set a worrying precedent; that of international governments puppeteering American media firms by means of strategic investments.
See additionally: “How Vice Went From New Media Large to Saudi Propaganda Machine” by ex-Vice staffer Simon Childs.