Who financed the trip by Rodman and his crew of other former NBA stars to the hermit kingdom to play an exhibition game and celebrate dictator Kim Jung Un’s birthday?
Prior Rodman trips to North Korea were supposedly part of a documentary film project paid for by Vice Media, which operates a group of internet-based video sites. USA Today described Vice’s “edgy brand of journalism” this way last month:
What do military drones in Pakistan, arms expositions in Jordan and a naked beer-drinking man in Brooklyn have in common? They are all part of the go-anywhere storytelling style of Vice Media.
It’s been implied but not reported explicitly in stories written about Rodman’s latest trip — in which he denounced an American being held captive by North Korea and voiced more enthusiastic support for Kim than he had in the past — that this one was also part of a Vice project.
Beyond travel expenses, how much were Rodman and his friend paid for their self-proclaimed effort at “basketball diplomacy”?
Did North Korea share any of the fees and costs with Vice? What would the legal implications of that be for Rodman or maybe for Vice, given the American trade embargo with North Korea? Would Vice have any First Amendment protections if Kim’s government helped the company financially? Conversely, would Vice, whose investors include Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, have trouble under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act if it paid any North Korean officials for access?