NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: Rupert Murdoch just bought It… Here’s What You Should Know


The news that National Geographic has now been placed in the hands of Rupert Murdoch prompted a predictable outcry, roughly akin to what happens in the movies when the clearly evil tycoon takes the orphans away. A bastion of popular science is now controlled by a very prominent climate change denier who, despite his company’s assurances of editorial integrity, has spent decades interfering with the independence of his properties. A tabloid king could now apply the values of the New York Post to one of the world’s oldest magazines.


I’d be the last to tell anybody not to worry when Murdoch comes to town, but some of the agita missed the fact that National Geographic has had a long partnership with Murdoch’s media empire, most notably through the Nat Geo TV channel. (You didn’t think Nat Geo was airing all of those Bill O’Reilly documentaries because of their educational value, did you?) National Geographic may be sacrificing its non-profit status, but Wednesday’s deal partially cemented what had already been put in place. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take anything away from how unsettling it feels to see a stalwart brand like National Geographic go down such a blatantly commercial path.

Rupert Murdoch

It has whiffs of the creepiness that surrounded the announcement that HBO will now be the primary home for “Sesame Street.” Both events highlighted the deplorable lack of a non-profit media infrastructure in the United States. America spends a fraction of the money other industrialized countries do on public media. Networks like the BBC or CBC are far from perfect, but they have a commitment to public service broadcasting that puts American networks to shame. PBS, a mere minnow in this universe, still produces programs on art, science and history that would never make it onto a broadcast network. If you want anything beyond weather reports, top 40 and horrible people discussing sports, public radio is pretty much the only game in town. ( By Jack Mirkinson from ) Note: The video below shows you what does Dr. Jane Goodall think about Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of National Geographic…