To the horror of many, Megalodon, that massive yacht-sized shark that makes a Great White look like a pan-fryer, is set to swim back onto the world's television screens in August for Discovery Channel's annual "Shark Week." Not only are the gullible and the true believers ready to peer at the new "mockumentary" in slack-jawed wonder slash horror that such a killing beast could still survive and stalk the world's oceans (even though there is no scientific evidence that it does), those that railed against the showing of "Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives" during last year's "Shark Week" will undoubtedly look on in horror -- again -- as another chapter in the fake documentary, "Megalodon: The New Evidence," will again ignore science and actual research in the hopes of taking a big bite out of cable ratings.
As The Inquistr reported July 22, Discovery Channel seems to feel that ratings are worth far more than credibility within the scientific community, because the powers that be at the network will air the second installment in the bogus documentary series about Megalodon, a very real monster shark that once prowled the world's oceans. But the operative word in the previous sentence is "once," because Megalodon, a giant shark that is estimated to have grown to a length of well over 60 feet, is believed to have gone extinct about two million years ago.
But, according to International Business Times, "Megalodon: The New Evidence" will air on Friday, Aug. 15, at 10 p.m. (EST) and “will follow Collin Drake as he returns to share new details of the case, presenting ‘shocking’ new evidence of the existence of Megalodon.”
That "'shocking' new evidence" does not actually exist. How can one be so certain? Well, simply because Collin Drake does not exist.
Discover Magazine exposed the Megalodon documentary thusly: "No whale with a giant bite taken out of it has ever washed up here in Hawaii. No fishing vessel went mysteriously missing off of South Africa in April. No one has ever found unfossilized Megalodon teeth. Collin Drake? Doesn’t exist. The evidence was faked, the stories fabricated, and the scientists portrayed on it were actors.”
"It," of course, being the straight-to-controversial faux documentary "Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives."
But the network that built its reputation on airing science documentaries and nature programs seems to have gone the way of other networks choosing profit over credibility -- like The History Channel and The Learning Channel, both of which now host a number of shows that have nothing to do with history or education. Profit is built around advertising. Advertising dollars, in turn, are determined by what is popular. And "Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives" nearly 5 million viewers, becoming the most popular show in "Shark Week" history.
At the same time, actual researchers and scientists are showing a tendency to steer clear of the network, according to The Inquistr.
And if the faking of scientific data and disseminating the information wasn't bad enough, the Discovery Channel has already become embroiled in controversy prior to the second fake documentary's premiere. To promote "Shark Week," a video was posted to YouTube of a shark loose in Lake Ontario. But there was no actual shark and the network was roundly criticized for posting the footage as real. The channel ultimately admitted the video was a hoax. But the video had gone viral, achieving its intended goal, an example of successful guerilla marketing.
Discovery Channel has been accused of irresponsibility in airing such unsound programming and providing a new addition to the creatures that inhabit the world of the fantastical, like Bigfoot, mermaids, and the Loch Ness Monster.
And even though "Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives" was prefaced with a disclaimer that the prehistoric shark was real and but alluded to the idea that there is room for "debate" over whether or not the massive creature is still extant, such ambiguity leads to popular confusion and an atmosphere welcoming belief in the nonexistent. A viewers poll hosted by Discovery Channel indicated that at least 70 percent of their watchers believed that Megalodon was not extinct.
Now there's a second mockumentary to consider.
The horror... the horror...