Snap, gulp

Bad news – National Geographic is being devoured by Fox.

The 127-year-old nonprofit National Geographic Society has struck a $725 million deal that gives 21st Century Fox a majority stake in National Geographic magazine and other media properties, expanding an existing TV partnership.

The agreement announced Wednesday will give the company controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s family a 73 percent stake in the new National Geographic Partners venture. The society retains 27 percent ownership. The move shifts the longtime nonprofit flagship magazine into a for-profit venture.

What could possibly go wrong?

Besides everything?

However, some observers are worried about the future of National Geographic’s educational mission in media if control is turned over to commercial interests.

Christopher Palmer, an environmental filmmaker and professor at American University, said Fox and National Geographic would seem to be incompatible to most people.

“Many people feel the National Geographic Channel has become more sensational and think that it’s due to the Foxification of the channel, and now Fox is taking over all these other media properties including the iconic National Geographic magazine,” he said. “So the question is: will National Geographic maintain its very high standards in the future under this new arrangement?”

It seems vanishingly unlikely that they will.

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