The National Geographic magazine has been a nonprofit publication since inception in 1888, but that ends today. The long-running American publication becomes very much for-profit under a $725 million dollar deal announced today with 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch is a notorious climate change denier, and his family's Fox media empire is the world's primary source of global warming misinformation. Which would be no big deal here, I guess, were it not for the fact that the National Geographic Society's mission includes giving grants to scientists.
Or had you forgotten? Here's a refresh for you, a fun little interview with Murdoch on his climate change views.
From today's deal coverage in WaPo:
The partnership, which will also include the National Geographic cable channel and the National Geographic Society's other media assets, will be called National Geographic Partners. Fox will own 73 percent of the partnership, and Washington-based National Geographic Society will own the balance. Fox will pay $725 million to the Society for its stake in the partnership. This will push the Society's endowment to more than $1 billion.
Let the "National Geographic Covers Designed by Rupert Murdoch" Photoshop Wars begin.
20-year Nat Geo vet Declan Moore becomes CEO. Gary Knell, president-CEO of the Society, will serve as the first chairman. Buried in the press announcement:
"The value generated by this transaction, including the consistent and attractive revenue stream that National Geographic Partners will deliver, ensures that we will have greater resources for this work, which includes our grant making programs that support scientists and explorers around the world," Knell said. "As media organizations work to meet the increasing demand for high quality storytelling across multiple platforms, it's clear that the opportunity to grow by more closely aligning our branded content and licensing assets is the right path. We now will have the scale and reach to continue to fulfill our mission long into the future. The Society's work will be the engine that feeds our content creation efforts, enabling us to share that work with even larger audiences and achieve more impact. It's a virtuous cycle."
So Rupert Murdoch will be to some large extent controlling a $1 billion organization whose stated mission includes giving grants to scientists.
Rupert Murdoch is a raging asshole, but he is also a very much on-the-record climate change denier. A climate change denier with now even more power and influence over science grants in the United States.