This is painful. Just awful.
National Geographic is creating, then monetizing a “global TV event” where the drama is simply this: Will Alex Honnold kill himself?
Because if the drama really is about the challenge of climbing up the side of a skyscraper, then hang a safety rope off Alex’s back to prevent him from dying.
But death is the point, isn’t it? Without the potential to deliver a fresh corpse on live TV, Howard Owens & Da Boyz at the National Geographic Channel (majority owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation) really have no story, do they?
Here’s a question for John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society, whose job is to safeguard the future of NGS:
Imagine that Alex kills himself.
How will you explain the Society’s central role in his death?
John clearly can not say to the media: “Cable TV is a very competitive entertainment space, so periodically we must bring forward a young adrenaline junkie like Alex, and offer him as a blood sacrifice to (temporarily) slake the thirst of the TV gods. Such global spectacles not only draw massive crowds, but they also increase our corporate profits and the profits of our “partners” at News Corporation.”
All that might be true, of course. But John can’t actually say that out loud and in public.
What, then, would John say?
Also: Why are U.S. taxpayers still providing 501(c)3 tax-exempt status to the National Geographic Society when the organization is willing to make millions of dollars for itself — and for Rupert Murdoch — by staging and globally televising Alex Honnold’s possible death?