Shark Week Once Mattered; Now It's a Joke

Alan Yuhas: Discovery abandons science in quest for ratings
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2013 12:48 PM CDT
Shark Week Once Mattered; Now It's a Joke
In this image provided by Discovery Channel, a great white swims near Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Discovery Channel, Andrew Brandy Casagrande, File)

The Discovery Channel's Shark Week is under way again, but it can't end soon enough for Alan Yuhas at the Guardian. Discovery now prefers schlock to science, as evidenced by the fictional documentary Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives that kicked off this year's festivities. When it began 20-plus years ago, Shark Week actually served a useful purpose in educating people about sharks and marine biology. Now, it's a joke. "Discovery made its name as a champion for science, but it's been abandoning that mission for years," complains Yuhas.

The network is reinforcing the myth that sharks are mindless man-eaters instead of "the important, diverse animals they are." Can't we talk about real sharks? After all, Discovery owes its success to them. "It would be doing right by the fish" and the viewers to do so. Click for his full column. Need a dissenting view? Let's not forget that Discovery is a "for-profit business," writes Marc E. Babej at Forbes, who notes that Megalodon was a huge ratings success. "Anyone who relies on Discovery’s Shark Week for their education about sharks isn’t too serious about scholarship to begin with," he adds. Critics should lighten up and enjoy. Click for his full column. (Read more Discovery Channel stories.)

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