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Discovery dances with the devil

Sarah Palin's Alaska

Discovery Communications, parent company of the Discovery Channel and TLC, has announced a new program, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” Yes, that Sarah Palin.

What a huge disappointment. I love this company’s magnificent nature programming, and with a new HDTV, I’ve been looking forward more than ever to their shows. Few places in the world offer more spectacular wilderness than Alaska, so it was a real kick in the gut to hear they’ve hired a political lightning rod like Palin to host the program. Why on earth would they give a greedy, ambitious, politician a platform and pay her a reported $1 million an episode!?

This company built its reputation by promoting nature and science, yet they’ve inked a deal with someone who hunts wolves from the air and offers bounties for their forelegs, who has fought against protection for polar bears and beluga whales, who has denied any human contribution to global warming, and who is more interested in energy development and profits than in preserving the nation’s last great wilderness. There are plenty of other Alaskans who know and love their state who could host such a show. Why hire one interested only in promoting herself?

At least the program is to air on TLC rather than the Discovery Channel. Maybe it’s Discovery’s way of admitting the program does not belong in the company of “Planet Earth” and “Life,” but it still smacks of trying to have their cake and eat it too. Bottom line: while they gamble that Palin will boost their ratings and advertising income, they diminish themselves and their other nature programming.

I just wrote to Discovery Communications urging them to dump Palin, and you can too. There’s a quick form letter at the Defenders of Wildlife site. If you prefer, you can write directly to Discovery’s Viewer Relations department with the form on their site.

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