Growing the Murdoch Way

The gentleman’s question clearly piques the interest
of John Fahey, Chairman of the National Geographic Society.
But John makes no attempt to answer it.

Then again, maybe there’s no need.
After all, John led the National Geographic Society into a “partnership”
with one of the biggest media growth machines in the world:

{Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is the majority owner of the National Geographic Channel.}

What does Rupert Murdoch do with the money he makes
by leveraging the good name of National Geographic?

He exerts his political influence.
Which means he does stuff like this:


September 15, 2013

Does that mean the National Geographic Society
is helping climate deniers like Murdoch
confuse the public and muddy the waters?

Does it mean that National Geographic
is putting money in the pocket
of a media mogul who is pro-fracking,
who disparages environmentalists as “greenies,”
and who is unabashedly pro-growth?

It sure does.


(I think he means “fracking,” not “tracking.”)

Dear John,
How long do you think this game can go on?

John Fahey National Geographic

Dear John: Why is a “violent insurrectionist” the star of an upcoming show on the National Geographic Channel?

See update (below)

Meet James Yeager. According to a news report, he’s the star of an upcoming episode of Doomsday Preppers, which is now one of the most profitable shows on the National Geographic Channel:

This is the campaign run by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which is trying to persuade National Geographic to cancel the Doomsday Preppers episode featuring “violent insurrectionist” James Yeager:


This is David Lyle, CEO of the National Geographic Channel:

David Lyle

David Lyle

This is Rupert Murdoch:

Rupert Murdoch laughs

This is John Fahey, Chairman of the Board of the National Geographic Society:

John Fahey National Geographic

It’s worth remembering that John Fahey has the authority to unilaterally kill shows on the Channel if he considers them inappropriate for the National Geographic Society. At least that’s what John said last year to a national radio audience.

So, what do you think, John? Does this episode of Doomsday Preppers deserve to be cancelled? If so, when? If not, why not?


Update, 20 September 2013 @ 10pm

From the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:

UPDATE: On September 19, 2013, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was sent the following statement by Chris Albert, a Senior Vice President for Communications and Talent Relations with National Geographic Channels:

“Doomsday Preppers documents many individuals from across the country with unique beliefs and practices as they prepare (legally) to protect themselves and their families from various disaster scenarios. Given recent events such as Hurricane Sandy and the flooding in Colorado, this program is also a valuable platform for presenting survival tips to our viewers, and we regret that any potential interview has clouded the important work this show does. With more than 600 hours in production at any given time, we give our producers the liberty to conduct hundreds of interviews for programming on our behalf, including for this series. [James Yeager] was approached by our production company for participation in the upcoming season of Doomsday Preppers. However, after being made aware of the interview and consulting with the producers, National Geographic Channel does not believe that he fits with the show or the network, and we do not plan to air his interview in the series.”

“Howard? Bill O’Reilly on line 2….”

Sunday, March 24, 2013 @ 9:09pm
Howard Owens, President of the National Geographic Channel,
says he isn’t ready to commit to producing
a TV special based on Killing Jesus,
the latest book by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. 


Less than 16 hours later,
Howard changes his mind: 


Dear Howard,
What happened?


Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly


John Fahey National Geographic

≡  Read the full stories in The Hollywood Reporter here and here.


Dear John: Our Society faces a serious problem in Alaska, and we need your help.


 Read the whole thing here.

John Fahey National Geographic


The Fine Art of the Sucker Punch

Remember how our Society sucker punched the Hutterites of Montana’s King Ranch Colony?

If so, this story (from the Homer Tribune in Alaska) will seem like deja vu all over again:


Lisa Blake (via IMDB)

Lisa Blake (via IMDB)

Executive Producer Lisa Blake has a long history of making shows with “gravitas.” Here are some highlights from her website:

… As the entertainment news producer for FOX’s national morning news show, Good Day Live, and the Emmy winning Good Day LA, she produced and directed live and live-to-tape segments exploring Hollywood Behind the Scenes and covering weekly red carpet events and feature film premieres. During her three years at FOX News Lisa worked with such luminaries as Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jim Carrey, Halle Berry, Jack Nicholson and Robin Williams, among countless others. …

Lisa was the supervising producer on FOX’s Reality Remix, and a producer on reality shows Mr. Personality for FOX, ABC’s Are You Hot? and E!’s Style Star. … 

And why do Lisa Blake’s promises to Alaska’s Old Believers ring a little hollow? Hmmm… maybe because she seems to be reading from the same playbook as did Jeff Collins, who produced Meet The Hutterites:

{ Listen to the whole interview here. }

Sucker punching small groups of people,
and then humiliating them on international TV,
is one way to make a buck.

The trick, though, is to keep moving…
and get out of town before the locals figure out
who you really are. 

Montana… Alaska… New York City
and onward our Society goes, hoping that the truth
won’t catch up with us. 

(It’s a lot like The Ali G Show.
Except Ali G punked the rich & powerful,
not the powerless.) 

Eventually, Murdoch & His Boyz
will pocket their money and move on…
leaving the National Geographic brand
damaged beyond repair.  

Dear John,
Are you still out there?


“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of National Geographic,
in a national radio interview 
on March 30, 2012:


November 12, 2012:c21media_NatGeoChannel_Yukon_Gold_mining_reality_tv

January 17, 2013: gold_mining_yukon_gold_NYTimes_oped

Dear John:

John Fahey National Geographic

Why the “green economy” can be a death sentence for poor people in the developing world


That quote echoes very familiar themes: sustainable development… scarcity… environmental risk… economy for the future. Say those words aloud, and you’re practically reading from the National Geographic playbook, with its noble goal “to inspire people to care about the planet.”

But here’s why a laser focus on all things Green — especially climate change — is becoming a life-threatening problem, at least for poor people who live in the global south:


If you read only one article
about climate change and the environment this year

(and there are only a few days left)
read this one.
It’s an eye-opener. 

You can find the whole piece here.


Dear John:
What are your thoughts
about this environmental dilemma?

John Fahey National Geographic

Related post: Befriending Thugs Who Love The Planet
(OR: Save the trees & to hell with democracy)

Yu Jie, John Fahey & “the frontiers… we must protect”

TO: John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society
RE: Taking your own words seriously

Did you see this news item?

{ Read the whole article here. }

Given your recent public statements about freedom of expression and the First Amendment

… don’t you think Yu Jie’s online project is a perfect fit for the National Geographic Society?

After all, Yu Jie:

We have some great ideas about how National Geographic could become a partner in Yu Jie’s project, which will not only help Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, but will also help you build a secure and sustainable future for the National Geographic Society.

If you’re interested in learning more, please get in touch, or let us know in the comments below.

What John Fahey could learn from McDonald’s

In Canada,
McDonald’s answers all sorts of questions

on their website, in full public view:

 In Canada’s National Post, columnist Jonathan Kay writes:

The whole “Your questions” site, which is also the basis for a TV ad campaign, is fascinating — because the questions presented are exactly the potentially embarrassing ones that PR executives, just a few years ago, would never have dreamed of addressing publicly. “Which parts of the cow do you use?” “Why is your oil brown?” “Is there ‘meat glue’ in any of your products?” “Are the milkshakes really made of edible plastic?” “I heard that McDonald’s loses money on salads and has them on the menu to be politically correct. Thoughts?”

Not to mention this one-word query: “Halal?”

My favourite one: “Why does my food never look like the food in your ads?” It’s a question every single person who has ever eaten a Big Mac has thought — but which, to my knowledge, has never been addressed by head office. Yet not only does McDonald’s answer the question candidly, the company even links to a video starring McDonald’s Canada’s Director of Marketing, who takes us backstage to a “food stylist” preparing a Quarter Pounder for photography. We even see the post-production photo-editing in which blemishes and such are removed digitally.

The McMessage here is simple: We have nothing to hide. Ask us anything you want. We’ll tell you the answer. It’s a tone-perfect campaign for an age in which transparency is king, and ordinary consumers are demanding more and more information from politicians, corporations, charities, journalists… and, yes, burger joints.


Meanwhile, at our Society:

John Fahey National Geographic

John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of National Geographic,
rarely, if ever, gives interviews.
But if McDonald’s can answer uncomfortable questions,
then John can, too.
You can encourage John to speak up
by clicking Like, below.

333 more people like Dear John: Let’s Talk but we can’t include their names.
(They’re either not on Facebook, or they’ve asked to remain anonymous.)
If you’re in the same boat, please email me
alan [at] societymatters [dot] org
and I’ll increase the total tally by one.

Three victims of NGC’s “factual fiction” speak out

To: John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of National Geographic
Re: The Joke That Isn’t

During your presentation at last week’s all-hands staff meeting at NGS headquarters, you decided to go for a big laugh this way:

Now, meet three members of the Romani community (“gypsy” is an epithet) — Daniele Morgan, Aaron Williams, and Tony Hutson — who are stepping forward to tell you why “factual fiction” like National Geographic’s American Gypsies is not funny. Instead, it’s been a nightmare:


John Fahey rarely, if ever, gives interviews.
But we’re requesting one — partly to ask him this question:
What, if anything, would you like to say to Daniele, Aaron & Tony?
You can help us get an answer to this question
by clicking Like, below.

333 more people like Dear John: Let’s Talk but we can’t include their names.
(They’re either not on Facebook, or they’ve asked to remain anonymous.)
If you’re in the same boat, please email me
alan [at] societymatters [dot] org
and I’ll increase the total tally by one.

NO NEW POSTS will be published here after February 6, 2014. THIS IS WHY.