HBO's 'Vice' Endures PR Nightmare as Dennis Rodman Toasts North Korea's Kim Jong Un
The minds behind the new HBO show VICE probably wished the Worm had turned the other way.
Former basketball great Dennis Rodman joined a delegation of athletes--including the Harlem Globetrotters--as part of a cultural outreach effort with North Korea. The plan? Use the sport of basketball to bridge the chasm between the Communist country and the West, and VICE cameras which capture all of it.
It's the kind of feel-good move you might expect out of Hollywood, not a fledgling news program (executive produced by Bill Maher) trying to make its mark on journalism.
Too bad Rodman turned the effort into a PR blunder, calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un an "awesome guy" and said his father and grandfather were "great leaders."
Rodman wasn't finished gushing over the young dictator.
"He's proud, his country likes him--not like him, love him, love him," Rodman said of Kim Jong Un. "Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome."
Here's VICE founder and show host Shane Smith promoting the cultural exchange in a recent press release:
“Is sending the Harlem Globetrotters and Dennis Rodman to the DPRK strange? In a word, yes. But finding common ground on the basketball court is a beautiful thing. These channels of cultural communication might appear untraditional, and perhaps they are, but we think it's important just to keep the lines open. And if Washington isn't going to send their Generals then we'll send our Globetrotters – Cue music – ‘Sweet Georgia Brown.’ ”
Cue Michael Moore's Sicko is more like it.
Moore's health care documentary allowed Cuban leaders paint their country's medical system in the brightest possible light with the far-left director happily serving as a Useful Idiot.