Photographer admits viral video of polar bear dying from climate change was ‘fake news’

Photographer admits viral video of polar bear dying from climate change was ‘fake news’
Image: Nat Geo

Usually fake news is expressed in the form of words, but sometimes images are faked to promote a political agenda. Such is the case of a video of an emaciated and starving polar bear that has been making the rounds. The photographer who made the video has admitted that she and the publication she works for, National Geographic, fudged the climate change narrative behind it.

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 environment as a result of the effects of the climate.

The network and photographer have now confessed to supplying this narrative devoid of any facts to support it. In an editor’s note accompanying a mea culpa by photographer Cristina Mittermeier, National Geographic admits it “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. The revised frame is on the left:

Captions later in the video continue to imply that the polar bear was a 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,” Mittermeier further elaborated.

Still, she seems to blame viewers for the narrative getting out of control, writing:

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, naïve. The picture went viral — and people took it literally.” [Emphasis added]

So viewers were supposed to intuit that the video was meant to be symbolic? Sure, why not.

Despite finally coming clean about the polar bear video, Nat Geo and the photographer say they’d do it all over again, which should come as fair warning to anyone who watches their documentaries and accepts them at face value.

Cross posted at the Mental Recession

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is editor of the Mental Recession, one of the top conservative blogs of 2012. His writings have appeared at the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record.


For your convenience, you may leave commments below using Disqus. If Disqus is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.