Russia, China, and Arabic-speaking countries are certainly not bastions of democracy. But you’ve established National Geographic partnerships there, while pretending this expansion is a natural expression of our Society’s DNA.
As you must know by now, we think these sorts of arrangements with authoritarian regimes are a bad idea for our Society — and our society. But we also think you should be honest with NGS members about what we’ve had to sacrifice so that you can sell cheetah pictures to the Chinese. Quite simply: We unilaterally decided to turn your Society into a global media company — but in the process, we’ve had to throw your democratic values and (parochial) national Story under the bus.
Even the host of this Russian TV show (in the video, below) knows how you’ve dramatically changed National Geographic, which he once loved. And while Terry barely acknowledges in this interview that National Geographic once viewed the world through American eyes (“there may be a time when that was somewhat the case,” Terry sort of, kind of admits), Chris still insists on repeating his (ludicrous) mantra about NGM’s 120 years of objectivity and lack of bias.
Bias is what made National Geographic great. Bias for democracy, for human rights, and for freedom. Bias for a democratic adventure that calls upon us to participate, and blesses each of us with a speaking part. Bias for the underlying narrative magic that made our Magazine such a stunning success — an optimistic, on-going story about America and the West greeting the world with curiosity, respect, and hope.
That’s our bias, and we think it’s a good one. But perhaps this story is better told with pictures:
In other words:
Remember who you are