Divide & conquer

When the Hutterites raised their voices in protest against 
the National Geographic Channel’s new reality TV series
Meet The Hutterites,
what was the response of the production team?

Locate the institutional divide at National Geographic,
and drive a wedge into it:

Jeff Collins: Insults, a threat… and then silence

For several weeks, I’ve been trying to get an interview with Jeff Collins, the executive producer of National Geographic’s TV series Meet The Hutterites. I asked Jeff, via Twitter, for an online Q&A; I called his office to try and set up a time to talk; and I made a formal interview request via the media relations folks at the National Geographic Channel. But no luck.

Best I can tell, Jeff Collins has no interest in describing exactly how he produced his reality TV series — even though shedding some light on what happened behind the scenes at Montana’s King Ranch Colony, where the series was shot, would probably help end the controversy that’s been swirling around the show for months.

Early this week, via Twitter, I once again asked Jeff why he refused to discuss the making of “MTH” (Meet The Hutterites). His response: insults and a threat.

Trying to maintain a positive tone, I replied:

Within 24 hours, Jeff disappeared — and shut down his Twitter account:

For those of us who had been chatting with Jeff on Twitter… well, we were puzzled:

Seeking honest answers to fair questions in a public venue clearly upset Jeff, which tells you most of what you need to know about the making of Meet The Hutterites.

Then again, Jeff may have simply taken a page from National Geographic’s increasingly familiar communications playbook: When confronted with uncomfortable questions, remain silent until the questions go away.

John Fahey National Geographic

Betrayal without remorse

As the controversy surrounding Meet the Hutterites continues, 
this quote keeps popping to mind:

≡  Amazon link to The Journalist & The Murderer, by Janet Malcolm 

KURL & KTVQ in Montana pick up the story

Ed. note: Greg LaMotte, the news anchor (above), says David Lyle is “National Geographic’s CEO” — but that’s not true. David Lyle is the CEO of the National Geographic Channel, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The (nominal) CEO of National Geographic — a non-profit, tax-exempt organization — is actually John Fahey.

John Fahey rarely, if ever, gives interviews.
But we’re asking for one — partly to hear his explanation
for what exactly happened in Montana.
You can help by clicking “Like,” below.
Thanks for considering this….


“Houston, we have a problem….”

Why people hate the media…

… and how that’s affecting the National Geographic Society.

≡   The “winners have parties, losers have meetings” quote from David Lyle can be found here.
≡   The tweet from Jeff Collins is here.
≡   The Associated Press (via NPR) story is here

“I know many of you have questioned why Nationwide would support the National Geographic Channel….”

One advertiser feels the heat. 

{ click to enlarge image }

{ from the newsletter of the Cartier (insurance) Agency,
based in Duluth, Minnesota } 

For King Colony Hutterites, silence is no longer an option

{click to expand image }

Live links from image:

•  m.kirkby@sasktel.net
•  http://societymatters.org/hutterites-media-packet

“The only way to do this is to be honest.”

Wesley Hofer is a member of the King Ranch Hutterite Colony in Montana, and a principal character in Meet The Hutterites, a recent National Geographic television series that’s become very controversial.

In June, soon after Hutterite bishops criticized National Geographic for producing this “distorted and exploitative” reality TV show, Wesley was the only person from King Colony to be publicly quoted in the program’s defense.

But in a document released today, Wesley adds his own personal testimony to earlier statements by more than 20 other Colony members. By clearing up some misperceptions, Wesley sheds new light on exactly what happened during the making of National Geographic’s Meet The Hutterites:

Wesley Hofer

{ To read other statements by King Colony members,
please go here
and scroll down to Personal Testimonials. }


John Fahey National Geographic

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: http://societymatters.org/2012/08/03/dear-john-hutterites-need-your-help
»  “link to documents, correspondence, and more: http://societymatters.org/hutterites/
»  “… TV programs that even you have admitted are a serious problem.”
»  “… humiliation and cruelty.”

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