Yesterday’s news that National Geographic magazine has been purchased by 21st Century Fox is a blow to objective journalism and the photographic essays of important and unheard stories from around the world. The dwindling world of free press has been alive and well for decades, but a few hold outs like the National Geographic Society officially caved and moved from a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to a for-profit model.
National Geographic Moves toward profit, and One Step Closer to Irrelevance
The “partnership” is nothing new for National Geographic, in fact 21st Century Fox has had co-ownership of their other entities like National Geographic Studios (TV Channels and movies), books, maps, children’s media; and other entities for the past 18 years.
If you are unfamiliar with 21st Century Fox, the man behind it is James “Rupert” Murdoch, the same media tycoon that owns Fox News Channel and its subsidiaries. For the uninitiated, Fox News Channel is a xenophobic 24 hour news channel that propagates ideas that benefit their corporate interests, and most apropos for the NatGeo acquisition is that Fox News promotes climate change as pseudo-science.
National Geographic magazine, that beautifully and artfully directed magazine with the iconic yellow borders was home to some of the world’s best photography and journalism, bringing the world to our hands for decades.
Climate change has been heavily reported in National Geographic as fact, but who knows if that will remain the same as the new for-profit takeover of 21st Century Fox. It is unlikely, especially with their history of shaping news to fit their, and Murdoch’s agenda.
The National Geographic press releases assures that “Combining these assets into one organization will create greater opportunities to pursue National Geographic’s mission of increasing knowledge through science, exploration and research.”
Most of the media is owned by corporate entities except for a handful of free presses that are slowly dying out and being acquired by media conglomerates. The world of objective journalism has been suffering for years, and the death of the not-for-profit National Geographic Society is a sad day for print/multimedia journalism, photographers, writers, and its readers.
It’s hard not to think that the National Geographic Society just made a deal with the devil, and that they are slowly losing relevance with their readership. Perhaps their years of waning subscriptions and ad sales, and the decline in the quality of the magazine have helped instigate this corporate acquisition. Without being able to weather the storm from the Great Recession, many magazines have fallen prey to corporate takeover by media conglomerates like 21st Century Fox.
They who control the media control information and how it’s disseminated. Knowledge is power, but when you control the message and can sculpt an agenda that benefits your interests, that is where objective journalism dies and subjective journalism rises to a fever pitch. Fox News is a perfect example of opinion journalism run amok.
The media landscape is changing, and independent media can thrive on the internet if people decide that this ‘For-Profit’ business model is too counterbalanced instead of the runaway capitalism it has become.
But how can a reader do that if they are unaware this is happening? Hopefully the internet will remain a place of free press and free ideas that can reach an even bigger audience instead of the corporate media we’ve grown accustomed to.
Here’s the statement at the end of the press release:
Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This document contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, which may cause the actual results or performance or achievements of the companies referenced herein to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. Where, in any forward looking statements, we express an expectation or belief as to future results or events, such expectation or belief is based on the current plans and expectations of our management and expressed in good faith and believed to have a reasonable basis, but there can be no assurance that the expectation or belief will result or be achieved or accomplished. The “forward-looking statements” included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and we do not have any obligation to publicly update any “forward-looking statements” to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law or regulation.
We don’t have any obligation to read. How about that?