The Discovery Channel's aim is supposedly to get audiences interested in popular science through showing quality documentaries, but recently they have been screening more and more pseudoscience mixed in with the real science.
Specials like The Last Dragon (2004), Mermaids: The Body Found (2012), and Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives (2013) contained a confusing mixture of science and fabrication. On a channel which claims to be educational this kind of thing is misleading.
Are you disappointed with the kind of programs the Discovery Channel has been showing, or does it not bother you?
I can't say that I've spotted these programmes on the Discovery Channel yet. What sort of time are they on? I can understand why people might find it annoying, but then again, these topics sound interesting to me, and I don't think it is worth making another spin-off discovery channel to air them. Surely there is enough time in the day for all types?
The three I mentioned were documentary specials (ie. they were on once- I put the years) but there are loads of pseudoscience shows on Discovery like Ghost Hunters, Amish Mafia etc.
Sure, there's "room" for it in terms of airtime to fill, but it's ethically dodgy for them to present themselves as educational but screen things that are demonstrably untrue mixed in with the science.
I call it more shameful than annoying. We have a similar station in Canada called TLC or The Learning Network. The station used to air mostly were basically educational reality TV with a few documentaries tossed in. Unfortunately their mandate has changed over the past number of years, they now air things like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding which have no educational value whatsoever. It's just sad.
It does bother me. If a channel is marketed as a factual channel, then it should be putting on factual shows. There are other channels for hoaxes and pseudoscience that someone who has paid for the Discover Channel probably isn't interested in.
I don't watch the Discovery Channel but I agree with you in principle. Science is science. But all media is largely 'entertainment' and a high proportion of what you see and hear is presented with 'spin' that reflects the orginator's agenda or broadens its appeal to a larger audience.
Also, science is a closed book to many so they don't have the wherewithal to question what they are being told, hence myths get passed on as fact. But there is also the issue of trying to address the mass ignorance of science with populist programmes.It must be a tough line to walk but clearly some programmes overstep the mark.
Given that the typical content on the Discovery Channel is aimed at an audience with a fairly low scientific understanding, it is even more concerning that these types of programs are appearing. I would even go so far as to suggest that a significant percentage of their audience might even have trouble distinguishing between the real science and those programs that are based on pseudo-science.