David Lyle & The Layoffs

What a great name that would be for an indie rock band. Unfortunately, it’s our headline for the ongoing pistol-whipping of the National Geographic brand by our “partners” at Fox.

This week in Washington, D.C.:

One of our Society Matters stringers, who attended this session, sent along a few text messages:

“”Wow, in a talk where David Lyle is being grilled about ‘lowering” the NG brand. Ha. And holy crap that man has no censorship… As in “who actually buys the [National Geographic] magazine anyway?… They’re either 70 yrs old or dead. There’s a reason you see an old NG magazine and it doesn’t even look read… Because no one reads them!” Then he goes on to how he IS making something interesting and entertaining.”” 

“It’s Lyle and a guy from PBS. The talk basically put PBS (who “stood the high ground”) with ngc [National Geographic Channel] (who “went to the low ground“). Ha. Shocked the talk/conference is so bold.” 

“Lyle just went on about how he’s a commercial enterprise, and out to make money. But to not lower himself as low as i.e. Honey BooBoo which is laughing AT them, not with them (and then he said “if you stick all of those people’s IQ’s together, I’m still not sure they’d be able to sign a consent form.”

“Now the moderator just showed a clip of that Amish show I think it is with a bunch of girls talking about bikinis. Now Lyle is tryin to defnd himself.”

Stop and consider: National Geographic, which once proudly showcased its award-winning documentaries on PBS, is now the counterpoint to PBS in a Low Road vs. High Road debate. Yet Mr. Lyle somehow believes that slithering down the Low Road is good for the Brand. Here’s a tweet from the same conference session:

If no one is reading the Magazine — as Mr. Lyle insists — then the National Geographic Channel isn’t “supporting” the Brand; rather, the National Geographic Channel now IS the Brand, which Lyle is undermining with crap like this.

In related news: Five more National Geographic magazine staffers — all of them women — were fired this week by Editor-in-Chief Chris Johns.



  • Guest

    If David really did say what he did about the magazine publicly, it isn’t a surprise. At a staff meeting earlier this year, he and some colleagues made it known (more than once mind you) that without the Channel, NG wouldn’t be here. I know this for a fact because I sat through the entire, sad meeting. They seemed to be so glad that they had programs such as “American Gypsies” (now canned), etc. It was terrible to sit through.

    • Thanks for sharing this, Guest. And you’re right: It’s not a surprise. It’s entirely consistent with messages that have been coming from both David Lyle & John Fahey for a while now — at least in the messages they share with the staff during in-house meetings. What’s puzzling is why pissing on the Magazine would be done so publicly.

      Seems like Chris Johns owes it to the Magazine, the Society, and his staff to step up and say something in our defense. But I’m not holding my breath.

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