Feature Article - November 2017
by Do-While Jones

Getting the Shot

National Geographic admits to photographic malpractice.

We were shocked by pages 33 and 34 of the October, 2017, issue of National Geographic. We weren’t shocked by what they said—we were shocked that they admitted it. They admitted that Jane Goodall’s late husband, Hugo van Lawick, in addition to documenting real chimp behavior, also took staged pictures demanded by National Geographic in order to keep the funding flowing for Jane’s research.

The admission was deleted from the on-line version of the article, so we scanned the pages to show them to you. (Of course, you can go to a public library and look at the magazine yourself).

The caption says,

GETTING THE SHOT These frames are from reels of film outtakes that were found in storage in 2015. They were shot in the early 1960s at Gombe Stream Game Reserve, in what is now Tanzania, by cinematographer Hugo van Lawick. National Geographic assigned Hugo to document chimp behaviors but also to film and photograph what they called “human interest” – Jane playing with the chimps and even washing her hair. Hugo and Jane disliked such frivolous scenes, but they went along with the requests, to keep the funding for Jane’s research flowing from the National Geographic Society. 1

How many other authors and photographers distort reality in order to produce content that National Geographic demands from them?

Great scientists of the past, Newton, Kepler, Kelvin, Galileo, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell were self-funded. They spent their own time and money to discover the truth. They didn’t have to adulterate their work to please a sponsor.

Today there are only a few self-funded scientists. J. Craig Venter 2 and Richard Branson come to mind. They are honestly searching for scientific truth because they can recoup their investments selling gene sequences or trips into space only if their gene sequencers or rocket ships really work.

Most of today’s scientists depend on pleasing their sponsors to continue their work. Many of these sponsors are politically motivated. They rely upon National Geographic, PBS, the tobacco industry, or government bureaucrats for funding. If the scientists don’t produce the results the sponsors desire, they don’t get funded any more. It doesn’t really matter if the pictures of Jane Goodall or the tall tales told by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Bow-Tie-Guy are true or not, as long as they please the sponsors.

That’s why there is so much fake science about astronomy and evolution. Quasi-scientific stories that advance a political agenda are an easy source of income.

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1 National Geographic, October 2017, “Becoming Jane”, pages 33-34
2 Disclosure, October 2015, “Big Science”