One of the most disconcerting recent developments in travel has been the acquisition of National Geographic Magazine and National Geographic Traveler by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox (which also owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal). National Geographic, a defender of science in its purest form and advocate for the preservation of the environment, climate change and other progressive policies for over 100 years, has now been taken over by a journalistic promoter of climate-change deniers and puppets of the oil and coal industries.
And it gets worse: These two magazines that have always extolled independent travel and sophisticated observation of the world and its many cultures have now appointed new executives, who will seek additional profit through group tours for their subscribers. Their names have been announced in news releases. National Geographic will now be cramming 40 passengers into a sightseeing bus!
Another new executive at National Geographic has been tasked with the goal of achieving additional income through so-called content marketing. Basically, a publication that was once operated as a nonprofit will now join the many sensational tabloids of the Murdoch empire in catering to the lowest tastes. Gone will be the enchanting description of expeditions to exotic lands, and the most sensitive reactions to differences in the world’s geography and lifestyles. The best forms of travel will lose their champion.
When Keith Bellows left the top editor’s post at National Geographic Traveler in 2014 (he died in 2015), I feared that his successors would not maintain his brilliant recommendations of the best kinds of travel. But I never thought that his successors might be the Rupert Murdoch clan, for whom profit is the only gauge of success. And I never dreamed that a magazine published since 1888 – namely, National Geographic – would fall into the hands of Fox News.
Let’s hope my fears are groundless – but I don’t think they are.
Note to the reader: Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip. The information in this column was accurate when it was released, but prices are competitive, sometimes limited and can always change without notice.
Arthur Frommer is the pioneering founder of the Frommer’s Travel Guide book series. He co-hosts the radio program, The Travel Show, with his travel correspondent daughter Pauline Frommer. Find more destinations online and read Arthur Frommer’s blog at frommers.com.
Read or Share this story: http://callertim.es/2pTqGqV