Dear John: The Hutterites desperately need your help

An open letter to John Fahey,
Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society

Click image to enlarge;
please see live links at bottom of this post.

Update @ 4:20pm
A reply from John Fahey: 


Live links from image above:
»  “You can find all the documents here.”
»  “link to this letter:
»  “link to documents, correspondence, and more:
»  “… TV programs that even you have admitted are a serious problem.”
»  “… humiliation and cruelty.”

  • gjessie

    Alan, could you please outline the journalistic process you’ve engaged in concerning this situation. Not the badgering and pandering you’ve done on this blog or through social media? Where’s the reporting? Not the RT, MT, and blog posts, but real investigative journalism.

    Have you visited King Ranch Hutterite Colony in Montana? How much time have you spent at the Colony? How about the communities around the Colony?

    How much time have you spent interviewing those involved, not online, but in person? Have you met with Rev. John Hofer or Mr. Mravin Hofer?

    Have you verified the documents? How many in the Colony have you interviewed? How much background research have you done on those involved?

    Wait, have you even left Washington, DC?

    We’ve seen your badgering and grandstanding with Jeff, but how about showing us that your “20 years as a staff writer and editor” has taught you that even in this age of the Internet that journalism is more than sitting at your computer retweeting unverified “facts” and unknown users.

    Or perhaps this is your version of investigative journalism.

    • Great questions, Jessie! Thanks for asking. 

      Thus far, I’ve spent most of my time gathering primary sources — contracts, correspondence, handwritten notes, first-person testimony by people who were actually on the ground during the shooting of the TV series. I’ve also watched the show, although not all the episodes. And I’ve been in touch with Hutterites, directly and indirectly, on the phone and online, who have intimate knowledge of what went on during the making of Meet The Hutterites

      I’ve also attempted, many times, to interview Jeff Collins. I’ve called his office & tweeted him, but he has refused my requests for an interview, and blocked me on Twitter. I’ve also contacted the PR people at the National Geographic Channel to ask for an interview, but they don’t respond. And, of course, I’ve been asking John Fahey for an interview, but he’s not talking either. 

      Have I flown to Montana to do on-the-scene reporting? Alas, no, I haven’t. You got me! Well played, Jessie!  …. As I think you must know by now, I do this mostly in my spare time as a labor of love. And on this project I’m serving more as a publisher and less as a reporter.

      But guess what? I just checked with the Finance Department here at Society Matters World Headquarters, and discovered that we didn’t hear from you during our recent pledge drive. You see, we depend on good souls like you, Jessie, to help support the investigative journalism about National Geographic that you wisely demand, but we can’t do it without your financial support. 

      So why not click that PayPal button on the left rail — and send us a generous contribution? Roundtrip airfare from DC to Montana is about $900 (I was invited to a colony-wide meeting at King Ranch early this week, so I checked fares) and my day rate is $800 — but since I like you, I’ll knock it down to $600. So, doing some quick math here…. if you contribute, say, $3,000, I’ll be happy to ramp up our reporting on this important story. 

      I’d write more, Jessie, but we’re having an emergency all-hands staff meeting at 10pm tonight in the main auditorium at our corporate campus. Despite it being a Friday night, our entire Society Matters family has mobilized for the crisis at King Colony Ranch. 

      One idea we’ll be exploring: crowdsourcing some of our future reporting on this breaking story. Would you be available to help out? Please let me know. 

      Thanks again for your questions, for your love of quality journalism — and, of course, for just being you. 🙂  

      all best,

  • gjessie

    You always have excuses Alan when your hypocrisy is pointed out–and trying to hide it in long-winded replies only exacerbates it.

    ME: Citizen journalist?

    YOU: Nah, only if you meet my day rate at $1,000. But don’t ask me about accuracy, authenticity, or facts or reporting because I will tell you that journalism costs money. Besides I’m a Publisher.

    Wish I could LOLCAT your response, because it would be a picture of a lazy cat on a couch wearing a faded coffee-stained National Geographic t-shirt (with ex scribbled in front) and with the text on the picture saying: “I haz been en touche with peeples and knowz whatz they say 2 be true. Or atleaze thatz what they sad.”

    Has to be one of your best yet.

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