The Painful Cost of Going Global

Today, all eyes are on Oslo:


Today, on the front page of


Almost 20 years ago in NGM

(long before any local language editions were launched):


Dear John,

As President & CEO of the National Geographic Society, you have established new business partnerships in China, Russia, and many other places where leaders are hostile to human rights, freedom of speech, and democracy. Which means today, when the civilized world stands in solidarity with Liu Xiaobo, National Geographic stands with the lions — which, as the New York Times recently noted, is a favorite species of despots everywhere.

It’s a stunning transformation: Before our Society went global under your leadership, National Geographic cast a bright light on what happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989 (see above). We gave maps to General Eisenhower to help Allied forces defeat the Nazis. We unabashedly celebrated the values and stories that enable our democratic society to cohere and flourish.

Now, though, National Geographic seems to care more about lions than about liberty. Which begs this question:

Do you really want your children to live inside
the anti-democratic world you are enabling?

John rarely, if ever, gives interviews.
But we’re asking for one — partly to hear his answer to this question —
and you can help by clicking “Recommend,” below.

Don’t have a Facebook account? Or prefer not to show your face? That’s okay.
Just email me — alan [at] societymatters [dot] org — and
I’ll raise our Anonymous But Curious tally by one.
(It’s under the Facebook widget in the right sidebar.)

NO NEW POSTS will be published here after February 6, 2014. THIS IS WHY.