60 Minutes vs. Vice On Kim Dotcom — Neither One Goes Deep Into The Issues
from the two-sides dept
A few months back I spent quite some time on the phone with two producers from 60 Minutes concerning a story they were planning on Kim Dotcom. They insisted that it was going to be a more nuanced piece than the usual media coverage portraying Dotcom as the “Dr. Evil” of the copyright industry. The episode finally aired this past weekend, and to the show’s credit, it definitely does take a somewhat more nuanced look at Dotcom. An interview with Dotcom is the centerpiece of the story, which certainly allows him to express some of his position. However, it also allows a number of highly questionable statements from the FBI and others, including saying that the $500 million that Megaupload made is “lost revenue” from Hollywood. However, when Dotcom himself makes a claim about being a businessman, the reporter openly laughs at him and points out the fact that decades ago, Dotcom claimed to have hacked into government computers. Much of the piece (and the extra material on the web) focuses almost exclusively on the fact that he lives in a mansion (they conveniently leave out that it’s rented). It’s not a completely one-sided portrait, but it hardly gets at any of the underlying legal issues that are at the core of the case. Basically, every time they suggest any of the legal issues, it’s almost immediately followed up by “But look at this amazing house!”
I can understand the “media” appeal of both stories. Dotcom and his persona are entertaining. But unfortunately, it seems like that too often is used to obscure the underlying issues which are incredibly important and serious.