I am not the one making that claim. National Geographic hired a professor to review their decades of stories – NGS itself reached that conclusion:
“What Mason found in short was that until the 1970s National Geographic all but ignored people of color who lived in the United States, rarely acknowledging them beyond laborers or domestic workers,” Goldberg says in a piece about the issue. “Meanwhile it pictured ‘natives’ elsewhere as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché.”
NGS intentionally cherry-picked topics and sources, and censored coverage of the struggles of people of color, both in the U.S. and in other nations.
As a kid in the 1960s, I grew up eagerly looking forward to the next monthly edition of the National Geographic magazine. I read it cover to cover well into the 1970s, and then as a young adult in the 1980s.
We now know, based on NGS’s own investigation, that NGS created a false impression of the world, falsely educating tens of millions of us to have incorrect views of the entire world. A discussion guide for their “Race issue” is available online. Read it. (Their own report on the NGS’s racist heritage is only available to paid subscribers. There are contemporary news stories about NGS’s racism problem.)
As a young adult, I was an NGS member until the late 1980s. Then, they ran a story on a subject with which I had read the original research papers – and they had cherry picked the original research to draw a false conclusion. That caused me to cancel my membership and I have never read the National Geographic magazine again, since. I cannot consider NGS a reputable source of anything.
Unequivocally, NGS caused me to have a warped view of the rest of the world through most of my adult life, particularly since I have not done international travel. NGS propaganda taught me a false view of the world that continued in my mind for decades.
I now know that most people in the world are kind and generous, family oriented and doing what they can to live the best life. Almost all countries and people are not primitives – but living mostly modern life. But this was not the message communicated during my formative years by the fake, racist reporting of NGS up through becoming a young adult.
NGS polluted generations of young minds with their false reporting.
To this day, I refuse to look at any content produced by National Geographic in print or television.
RELATED: This is more for my blog about propaganda than here, but throughout the 1960s into the 1980s, US media regularly featured photos and movies of life in the USSR – always in gloomy, wintertime, black and white photos. This was intentional for propaganda purposes. Reading about the Cold War era propaganda, we see many elements of this in use today regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.