“Corporate vandalism at its thoughtless, shortsighted worst”

David Lyle, CEO of the National Geographic Channel, doesn’t care what a (heavily syndicated) television critic like Kevin McDonough says; David only cares how many people are watching his programs — and the advertisements.

But John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society, has to worry when he sees the Brand he’s entrusted to protect get mercilessly slammed like this:

McDonough continues:

… There was a time when the words National Geographic stood for something: science, research and a commitment to discovery. For National Geographic to lend its name and logo to something so tawdry, unoriginal and dull deeply saddens me. …

Again, “Chasing UFOs” is not the worst program ever, nor the stupidest. And if it were part of some “Ghost Hunters” nonsense on Syfy, it would seem perfectly normal. But to associate an organization known for science with a program promoting superstition and popular gullibility is profane.

Sure, it’s disappointing to see the History Channel churn out vulgar anti-intellectual programming that has nothing to do with the study of the past. And let’s not even think about how Lifetime has morphed from vague feminism to shows celebrating spunky hookers in massage parlors. But those are mere cable outlets. National Geographic has been around for more than a century. The desecration of its “brand” is corporate vandalism at its thoughtless, shortsighted worst.

For the record, the National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Fox Cable Networks. If I were making a show about that arrangement, I might call it “Deal With the Devil.”

  • Travellover60

    NG Channel’s definition of excellent programming is how many people watch a show (it was told to us in the staff meeting last week), not by the quality of the show.

    Thanx to Kevin for his review of the UFO show and comments about other cable channels that have changed their format to the lowest common denominator. As we all know, it is for the almighty buck.

    Many who work at NGS and used to work here feel the same way–desecration of a sacred name. Many of us are sickened by what is on the channel. The NG Channel and various divisions thoughtful the Society are using the once great NGS and tracking it through the mud.

    Where is the Board in all this? Aren’t they disgusted by what is on the channel?

    • Great question. T. Sometimes I think the Board knows exactly what’s happening & have given John an enthusiastic thumbs up. Other times I think Board members don’t bother to watch what’s on the Channel during primetime & generally don’t pay attention. But from what I’ve heard in the past few months, there are folks out there who are preparing to find out. 

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