Sarah Palin nature series ruffling environmentalist feathers

An environmental group is mounting a campaign to get TLC’s corporate parent to drop Sarah Palin and her new nature series. But has the group watched any of the channel’s other programming lately?

Jae C. Hong/AP/File
In this March 27 file photo, Sarah Palin speaks at the 'Showdown in Searchlight' tea party rally in Searchlight, Nev. Ms. Palin has her own new nature series, called 'Sarah Palin’s Alaska,' and it’s going to air on TLC.

OK, maybe Sarah Palin is no David Attenborough.

Who’s David Attenborough? He’s that Brit with the plummy voice who’s narrated nature documentaries for some 50 years. The kind that run on BBC and have dialogue like, “and the minke whales are feasting on the plankton.”

Ms. Palin has her own new nature series, if you haven’t heard. It’s called “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” and it’s going to air on TLC, formerly known as The Learning Channel. We’re guessing plankton isn’t going to figure much in the plot.

But is Palin actually unfit to host such a show? The environmental group Friends of the Earth thinks so. They sent out a press release recently to that effect.

Her denial that humans contribute to climate change means she’s anti-science, according to Friends of the Earth. They’re mounting a campaign to get TLC’s corporate parent, Discovery Communications, to drop her.

“For a corporation that has built its reputation on educating viewers about scientific realities, the decision to give Palin a platform is an alarming detour,” says Friends of the Earth.

Hmm. Have they actually, you know, watched any Discovery Communications shows lately?

Sure, the firm’s flagship Discovery Channel showcases that new show “Life,” which has Oprah Winfrey narrating glorious shots of frogs that bounce, among other wonders.

But the meat of the channel’s schedule isn’t about science anymore. It’s about the realities of blue-collar life. “American Loggers,” “Dirty Jobs,” and “Verminators” are among its highest-rated features.

And TLC itself is not exactly airing features about how the continents came to be. Among its shows are “Cake Boss,” “19 Kids and Counting,” and “Police Women of Maricopa County.”

In that context, a show about Sarah Palin and Alaska will fit right in. Presumably it will have lots of riding around on all-terrain vehicles, and hunting, and salmon filleting. As opposed to round-table discussions of how global warming is caused by Al Gore’s books.

It might even be a step up intellectually from another Discovery show, “Cash Cab,” which features a taxi that serves as a sort of roving surprise game-show set.

Palin is reportedly getting $1 million per episode for her efforts. The eight-part series is set to be produced by Emmy winner Mark Burnett.

“Our family enjoys Discovery’s networks,” said Palin in a news release when the show was announced. “I look forward to working with Mark to bring the wonder and majesty of Alaska to all Americans.”

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