In September, when the news came that Rupert Murdoch, better known as the Douchebag Conservative Overlord of Fox News, had just purchased National Geographic, it sent of waves of concern among those who have long seen National Geographic as one of the great bastions of scientific exploration and reporting.
But things had rocked along in a mostly copacetic fashion until yesterday arrived.
Staff members–every one of them–were ordered into the office, unless they were traveling for business or vacation, by this email from CEO Gary Knell:
“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.”
And you can probably write the next line yourself: Each employee was called into the HR office and 180 of them were summarily released from their employment. Fired. Let go. Hung out to dry. Screwed.
The corporate powers-that-be then released a statement to get their side of the story out. As if that would make it any less painful for the nearly 200 people who are now unemployed:
“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.”
So it would appear that all of our fears about what King Rupert would do with this great institution are now starting to come true. No doubt we can soon expect headlines that read, “Global Warming…What Global Warming?” and “Oil Exploration: The Polar Bear’s Best Friend.”
Here’s my response to what Murdoch just did and is yet to do with National Geographic: The middle finger of both my hands is raised in protest.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.