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Report: Discovery Channel Is Duping Real Scientists into Being on Fake Shark Week Documentaries

We are witnessing the end of a cultural era. There was once a time—before brain meltingly stupid after-shows and surreal Rob Lowe promos—when Discovery channel cared about actual science. Last year though, their annual week-long programming block dedicated to shark documentaries opened with a fake, completely scripted film meant to deceive viewers into believing that a long-extinct megalodon was haunting the waters off the coast of South Africa. This year, they’ve upped the ante by tricking real scientists—who’ve devoted their lives to researching and educating others about sharks—into appearing in more fake shows.

One expert told io9 that he was “fed certain words to rephrase my sentences” by producers in a special called Voodoo Shark (about a mythical monster shark, of course). In a piece called, “Fraud, Deception And Lies: How Discovery’s Shark Week Became The Greatest Show On Earth” in Discover Magazine (a publication about real science), an ethicist and associate professor of philosophy at San Jose State University said that the network posted videos to “willfully deceive members of the public,” and a scientist lamented “to have a self-described scientific channel do this sort of publicity stunt is infuriating.” David Kerstetter, Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center even said in the piece that the misinformation could be undoing years of scientific understanding among members of the public: “Frighteningly, they’ve somehow done the impossible and actually contributed negatively to scientific research.” Not only has Shark Week jumped the shark, it’s become so anti-science that they are intentionally deceiving their audience to believe that mythical sharks pose a danger to humans …

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