“In a world full of shrill voices and agendas, we at National Geographic are committed to an unbiased presentation of facts…. It’s what we’ve been doing for more than 120 years.”
“Unbiased”? “For more than 120 years”? Hardly.
“Whether the identity in question is at the individual or national level, the concept of otherness, of difference, is critical in defining a distinct self. Like its popular — and for-profit — magazine compatriots [the Saturday Evening Post, and Reader’s Digest], National Geographic helped to articulate an American identity in opposition to both old Europe and primitive non-Western regions. It was an identity of civic and technological superiority but yet, a distinctively benign and friendly identity.“
– from the introduction of Presenting America’s World: Strategies of Innocence in National Geographic Magazine, 1888-1045, by Tamar Y. Rothenberg
Why does National Geographic no longer have much, if any, interest in articulating an American identity — or even a Western (democratic) one? And why does Chris Johns deny — despite the overwhelming evidence — that National Geographic once championed a particular point of view?
Because if you deny that, you get to do this: