The fundamental flaw in National Geographic’s “partnership” with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is rapidly becoming too big to ignore. Specifically: Our Society seems to have no control over what News Corp produces using National Geographic’s (once) good name.
Perhaps the most alarming red flag is the testimony of people who have long admired the Society, but who now are telling the world that they feel “betrayed, heartbroken, and sick” by what this “partnership” is producing.
For example, here’s National Geographic News — which, as of this writing, is still controlled by our Society — sounding the alarm about the endangered bluefin tuna:
But here’s the National Geographic Channel — which is majority owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp — announcing a new reality series called Wicked Tuna, which transforms the killing of the endangered bluefin tuna into “intense and compelling” adventure television:
Save the bluefin! … Kill the bluefin!
How can the National Geographic Society maintain any semblance of credibility while playing this game?
More to the point: How soon before lots of people begin connecting the dots the way Virginia Willis just did? A chef, cookbook author, and a longtime fan of National Geographic, Ms. Willis just posted Wicked Tuna: A Deal With the Devil. An excerpt:
“… To this day, I don’t read National Geographic magazines – I relish them. Each issue is a journey and exploration into a whole new world. National Geographic fulfilled its mission with me; it inspired me to care about the planet.
Yet, today I feel betrayed, heartbroken, and sick. The National Geographic Channel will debut a show this spring called “Wicked Tuna”, a reality series that follows the lives of tuna fisherman in Gloucester, Massachusetts….
It’s an absolute disgrace. It’s wicked in the true sense of the word, evil and morally wrong….
National Geographic is capitalizing on and exploiting the very species they have declared to be on the verge of extinction….
As a chef and food writer, I care about the food I prepare, the food I eat. I work to educate my students and readers about responsible and sustainable food. As the National Geographic Society mission states, I work to inspire people to care about the planet.
John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society should hang his head in shame. At minimum, he and the National Geographic channel have some serious explaining to do. If you’d like to let the National Geographic Society know what you think of Wicked Tuna, please shoot them a note to email@example.com
Chef and cookbook author
Editor, the Washington Post
Editor, the New York Times