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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why I Stopped Watching Shark Week

Once upon a time, I used to look forward to Discovery Channel's Shark Week like a kid looks forward to Christmas. I've always been fascinated by sharks and I actually have done quite a bit of study on them on my own. Maybe if I'd been born closer to an ocean, I would have become a marine biologist and studied sharks for real. It actually was one of the careers I was looking at when I was in high school.

So Shark Week was a treat--a whole week of great new shark shows.

The change happened slowly. Discovery started scheduling shark attack shows in with the educational programs. Then it seemed as if every show featured some kind of "human in peril" angle even though shark attacks are rare and deaths from attack even rarer. I started watching fewer shows every year, trying to pick out the ones that had information and not sensationalism.

But then the Discovery Channel (forgive the pun) jumped the shark. They presented fictional material as if it were real. They lied to marine biologists and creatively edited their interviews to make it appear as if these scientists were supporting the drama as fact. This is completely unacceptable to me.

If I wanted entertainment, I'd watch Jaws. I want fact-based documentaries on sharks when I watch Shark Week. Nothing else.

There's more fake science AKA entertainment shows presented as documentaries this year on Discovery. I'm so disappointed in what has happened to this once great channel. I'm done with Shark Week. I'm done with any show that is fictional, but presented as fact.

Sadly, people still trust Discovery Channel. One of the guys I work with was talking about the show he'd seen over the weekend. I hated to burst his bubble, but I had to tell him it wasn't true.

Discovery Channel, you fail and this makes me so sad.