Climate change denier Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic.
You read that right: one of the world's most notorious climate change deniers, whose Fox media empire spreads misinformation on a massive scale, just got control of National Geographic.
The National Geographic Society does incredibly important work on climate change -- from publishing groundbreaking stories to giving grants to scientists. But the new deal hands 73% ownership of its media operations to Fox.
We may not be able to stop the deal from going through, but we can stop Murdoch from meddling if we put enough pressure on the board. Top publications enforce editorial independence by appointing Public Editors who represent the public and investigate complaints of editorial interference.
Will you tell National Geographic to appoint a Public Editor?
The $725 million deal marks the end of 127 years of nonprofit science journalism for National Geographic. The deal includes its magazines, maps, books, TV channels, digital media platforms, and a whole lot else.
The new Fox-controlled company, National Geographic Partners, will be run for-profit, and it will answer to Murdoch's shareholders -- via its board.
Fox CEO James Murdoch has said that he has no interest in the editorial affairs at Nat Geo, but his father Rupert has a well-documented history of editorial meddling.
From interfering in elections to hacking the phones of murdered teenage girls, Rupert Murdoch's media empire has shown time and again that it will do anything for profit and power. But his most dangerous legacy by far will be his scientific illiteracy -- and his quest to ensure that human-caused global warming is dismissed as a conspiracy. Just two weeks ago he called climate change concerns "endless alarmist nonsense" and last week, he blamed "extreme greenies" for hindering economic growth.
National Geographic is a well-respected and global retail brand -- meaning it will take notice if we speak up. But our voices need to be as loud as possible if we want to be heard.
SumOfUs members have been crucial in keeping the media accountable. Last year, after thousands of us came together and spoke out, we got one of the most widely read newspapers in the UK to withdraw an offensive, sexist ad that offered up a topless woman as a raffle prize.
Now, let's stop Murdoch from ruining National Geographic's objectivity and excellent environmental reporting.
National Geographic: appoint a Public Editor now.
National Geographic gives Fox control of media assets in $725 million deal, The Washington Post, 9 September 2015
National Geographic fans worry about partnership with climate change skeptic Rupert Murdoch, The Washington Post, 10 September 2015
Statement from National Geographic regarding Murdoch purchase