A photographer behind a viral video featuring an emaciated and starving polar bear has admitted that she and the publication she works for, National Geographic, fudged the climate change narrative behind it.
The emotionally charged video appeared across nearly every platform seeking to promote global warming approximately one year ago.
Nat Geo posted the video and included a narrative behind it suggesting the starving polar bear had or was about to, succumb to the conditions in his home due to effects of the climate.
They have now, however, admitted to supplying the narrative devoid of any facts to support it.
In an editor’s note accompanying a confession from photographer Cristina Mittermeier, National Geographic admits they “went too far in drawing a definitive connection between climate change and a particular starving polar bear in the opening caption of our December 2017 video about the animal.”
That opening caption originally read “This is what climate change looks like,” with the words ‘climate change’ in bold yellow letters. It has since been corrected.
You can see how they’ve altered the opening caption to more accurately describe what viewers are looking at:
Further captions from the original video continue to imply that the polar bear was indeed the victim of climate change.
“There is no way to know for certain why this bear was on the verge of death,” the National Geographic editors now admit.
Mittermeier added, “In retrospect, National Geographic went too far with the caption.”
Yes, we’d agree that completely fabricating the story behind a nature video to push an already specious narrative on global warming is indeed going too far.
“Perhaps we made a mistake in not telling the full story — that we were looking for a picture that foretold the future and that we didn’t know what had happened to this particular polar bear,” she further elaborated.
Photographer Cristina Mittermeier explains her team’s intention for the gut-wrenching image—and what happened when they lost control of the narrative.https://t.co/Vw3D3dtwLw
— National Geographic (@NatGeoMag) July 30, 2018
Still, Mittermeier seems to blame viewers for the narrative getting out of control … because they apparently believed what they were being told.
“With this image, we thought we had found a way to help people imagine what the future of climate change might look like. We were, perhaps, naive,” she wrote. “The picture went viral—and people took it literally.”
How dare they assume a normally reputable publication like National Geographic was documenting and relaying facts to their audience!
A year later, National Geographic admits they misled readers and did not tell the whole story about a starving polar bear.
“Perhaps we made a mistake not telling the full story—that we were looking for a picture that foretold the future.”https://t.co/grvs1WWqzJ
— Ryan Maue | weathermodels.com (@RyanMaue) July 26, 2018
Despite finally coming clean about the polar bear video, Nat Geo and the photographer say they’d do it all over again, thus casting doubt on any future reports they might produce.
“When we come across a scene like this one, we will again share it with the world — and take pains to be sure that our intentions are clear and the narrative remains our own,” Mittermeier wrote.
Even National Geographic is moving away from documenting facts to trying to get more clicks with sensationalized stories. Are there no good reporters out there anymore?
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