Rupert Murdoch Takes Over National Geographic, Immediately Lays off Hundreds

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By John Prager / addictinginfo.org via filmsforaction.org

When news broke that Rupert Murdoch, evil overlord of Fox News, had purchased National Geographic, it sent shockwaves of panic through thinking individuals everywhere. After all, National Geographic has traditionally been one of the most well-known sources of scientific information, and Fox News is where any semblance of scientific knowledge goes to be beaten mercilessly with socks full of pennies before being unceremoniously dumped in a vat full of acid in Bill O’Reilly’s basement for easy disposal.

While National Geographic promised that there would be no editorial “meddling” from 21st Century Fox, Murdoch is already getting involved in other ways — specifically by laying off hundreds of the staff that made the company worth acquiring in the first place.

Staff members — all of them — were ordered into the office on November 3, unless they were traveling for business, on vacation, or otherwise not there by a rather horrific-sounding e-mail from CEO Gary Knell:

“To all NGS Staff:

“After very careful and serious consideration, we are ready to communicate how our restructuring and transformation will affect each employee at National Geographic. To that end, please make every effort to be available tomorrow, November 3rd, either in your regular work location, and/or by phone.

“If you are traveling for business, on vacation or plan to be out for any other reason, please notify Tia Freeman-Evans or Yvonne Perry in HR immediately, so we can make alternative plans to get in touch with you. If you know that someone on your staff will be out of the office on November 3rd, please let Tia or Yvonne know by 3 p.m. (Eastern) today, as well.

“Please watch your inbox for important information about your employment status tomorrow.

“I cannot thank you enough for your patience and hard work over the last few months. I am proud of how our teams and our organization have approached and responded to this transitional period. Looking ahead, I am confident National Geographic’s mission will be fulfilled in powerful, new and impactful ways, as we continue to change the world through science, exploration, education and storytelling.

Gary”

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Then, the staff waited, one by one, to be called into Human Resources to learn their fates. “No one knows how many will be axed today,” an unnamed source inside National Geographic told News Photographer magazine Tuesday. “The staff is sitting by their phones, waiting to be called down to HR.” Politico reports that, ultimately, about 180 employees — about 9 percent of the workforce — were subject to “involuntary separation,” while an undetermined number of employees were offered “voluntary separation agreements.”

In a statement, National Geographic shared its side of the story:

The National Geographic Society and the National Geographic Channels are in the process of reorganizing in order to move forward strategically following the closing the NG Partners deal, which is expected to occur in mid-November.

The entities combined have about 2,000 employees, and all staff have been advised as to their status as of closing. Involuntary separations will represent about 9% of the overall workforce reduction, many in shared services and a voluntary separation offer has also been made to eligible employees.

Sherry Brukbacher, a photo editor who had been working in her department since 2008confirmed she was one of those eliminated by the merger:

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Also axed were picture editor Kim Hubbard, 28-year veteran picture editor Nancy Lee Ott, photographer Michael Nichols, and numerous others. “Among those who were the first to be let go on Tuesday morning, according to our source, was also one of the magazine’s top picture editors and one of the magazine’s page designers who – according to several photographers – was ‘the best designer’ on staff, NPPA notes.

“The CEO of National Geographic Society, Greg Knell, tried to claim back in September that there “there won’t be an [editorial] turn in a direction that is different form the National Geographic heritage,” Nathaniel Downes of Reverb Press wrote of the layoffs Tuesday. “Murdoch’s move today only served to prove Knell’s words hollow, with hundreds of talented people now served their pink slips. And with the recognition that Murdoch’s other enterprises do not reflect the standards held by National Geographic, and with Murdoch’s history of changing the editorial direction of purchased properties, today’s move indicates that we can expect a similar shift for National Geographic.”

One must wonder how National Geographic can maintain editorial control when many of those who were “separated” from the company were editors and other decision-makers. Will we soon be seeing headlines like “Global Warming: The Great Scam of the Century” and “Who Needs Polar Bears, Anyway”  gracing the once-reputable publication? Only time will tell — but this sudden layoff of a large percentage of the staff does not bode well for any who were holding out hope that the Fox merger would not permanently damage the integrity of National Geographic.

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. After seeing this news story, I am crushed. National Geographic was one magazine I really enjoyed reading because of the purity of scientific investigation and unbiased reporting. Hearing that this organization has been taken over by the most notoriously destructive (especially for the negative political power Fox network has) media centre in the business has left me feeling nauseated at the fact that yet another scientific medium has been gagged to reporting only what it is ordered to. Fox news network has been known to stage events to appear real, faking accidents or paying individuals to testify to what Fox network wants to be heard, in order to make a point, and has taken good, intelligent programming and marginalized it to the point where the rest of us (those who still have the ability to think) have to rely on foreign media outlets to access the news and information we want. Fox network would have you believe that The Simpsons (for example, but I never watch this program), while somewhat entertaining to those who watch, is intelligent programming when nothing could be further from the truth. National Geographic may in fact be changed to reflect programming that has nothing to do with scientific exploration, and I fear that this is yet another step from the Elitists in forcing the capitulation of society into a packaged and controllable prison of intellectual poverty. We need to understand what has really happened here.

  2. You PROBABLY haven’t read NG lately, it has been the pits since about 2007 when we cancelled our subscription; trains of thought like, hey, Peruvian indian mummy who froze to death on sacred mountain top, because she was hugging her knees shivering when freezedried, must therefore be pretending a fetal position to satisfy the demand for a child sacrifice….just cause some nice Indians found her and buried her the next springtime…

    In other words, if its dead and buried, it must have been satanic. HMMM.
    I think it will be an equal tradeoff to have Rupert taking that ruination and making it his own and more personal. 🙂

    • Your comment points to a supposition that is normally assumed, and I knew that the reporting was suffering at the hands of the politicians and lobbyists who have been working to suppress scientific knowledge for their own profitable ends. That was never in doubt. The stories themselves will reflect level of the political involvement. Factual reporting specific to the area of study in question was why I read the magazine in the first place, That is the challenge of science, to make new discoveries known and bring those discoveries to public knowledge. MY point is, the gloves are off now. The organization no longer requires a shred of accountability, and now no longer requires a shred of proof to support any supposition that the Elitists are going to spoon feed us. Ergo, we have no choice but to find another source of factual information, and these sources are drying up fast. I understand how the content has been manipulated, and I am saying don’t examine the content, question the manipulators.

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