National Geographic & the Fox Empire

Most Americans who are middle aged or older (myself included) were first exposed to exotic cultures, endangered species and distant pristine ecosystems on the colorful pages of National Geographic Magazine.  More than an assembly of beautiful and inspiring photographs, the magazine has placed emphasis on the science of nature and on the importance of protecting our environment and conserving its diversity.  So too have National Geographic films taken us across the globe and into space, increasing our awareness of the complex natural history of our Universe.

I was thus dismayed (and frankly disappointed) to learn that National Geographic has accepted a financial lifeline from the Fox Media Corporation, the empire of Rupert Murdoch.  As we know, that network's flagship news channel is the mouthpiece of Evangelical Christians, Right-wing Republicans, Wall Street tycoons, fossil fuel proponents and climate change deniers.  While both organizations insist that the partnership is purely financial and that Fox executives will not influence the content of National Geographic programming, one wonders why an esteemed, nature-based society would team up with a corporation known for its anti-science rhetoric.

No doubt, competition is brutal when it comes to viewership and fund-raising.  Let's hope this arrangement does not taint the image or the fabulous work of the National Geographic Society.  In my opinion, it's better to downsize or to bow out gracefully than to survive by lending credence to an organization that has long ridiculed your message.