Discovery's "Shark Week" series and another round of misleading insinuations about the nature of the shark.
Around the world sharks are facing a cruel fate at the hands of man, killed for sport or soup, so much so that many are IUCN listed as endangered, threatened, vulnerable. And why so? Because the media has been equally as cruel and misguided in its portrayal of the shark as a killer-beast to sell papers, films and TV shows.
And who better to turn this negative and misjudged portrayal of sharks than a TV channel dedicated to nature such as the Discovery Channel? Yet this ratings-led network do nothing more than reinforce and reignite the myth of shark as a ruthless killing machine. So here lies the rub, what TV channel cares about the welfare of these sea ancients to give theman honest portrayal as fundamental prerequisites to a healthy marine ecosystem? Shark Week Discovery was apparently conceived to help generate respect forthe shark but instead they continue to perpetuate fear. This week, for example, viewers are being asked to moronically vote which item amechanical megalodon shark will crush with its jaws, reminiscent of the ancient Romans appetite for frenzied violence against man and animal in their colosseums.
Instead of impartial and objective information about these sensitive, intelligent, highly inquisitive yet over-exploited beings, Discovery insultingly offer programmes titled 'Air Jaws Apocalypse', 'Sharkzilla', 'How Sharks Fight' and 'Shark Week's 25 Best Bites'. Nowhere on the murky horizonof their schedule can one see an intelligent infomercial telling the truthabout these pain-sensitive and highly evolved species.
As Cory Robinson comments on the US Discovery Site pre-Shark Week 2011:"I am still disappointed that there is a huge lack of conservation orientedshows in this line up. I am a PhD student studying sharks, and know that they are near the brink of extinction... where is this Discovery?"
But being on the brink of extinction is obviously not on Discovery's radar as each year between 26 and 73 million sharks are slaughtered by our own ignorance (Clarke et al 2000). "When will we realize that sharks will never like us, no matter how many weeks we give them? They eat us. For fun" @JeffLoveness is the kind of feedback we can look forward to from another week of gratuitous and misleading entertainment entitled Shark Week.
Our only recourse is to complain to Ofcom and FCC for the biased and misleading nature of the programming.