Discovery to continue shark attack spectacle with 2010 Shark Week?

Update:It has since been reported that Discovery has decided to pull the re-enactment of the attack from the 2010 Shark Week programming. Kudos to Discovery for responding to the requests of friends and family of the victim.

According to TCPalm, Discovery Channel’s 2010 Shark Week will include a program focusing on shark attacks titled, “Day of the Shark III.” The program will focus on six shark attacks and feature a re-enactment of the fatal shark attack on a Stuart, Florida man, who was attacked while kiteboarding on February 3rd of this year.

TCPalm quoted Stephanie Forsberg, a friend of the victim and an organizer of a memorial fund in his name, as saying…

“I love the Discovery Channel, but to do a re-enactment, and do it this soon, I don’t think they’re being very sensitive to this community, to Steve’s family and especially to his mother.”

Forsberg went on to say…

“I think they (the Discovery Channel) just want to boost their ratings. This is just too soon for a lot of us.”

As last year’s Shark Week illustrated, Discovery’s approach of sensationalizing shark attacks does, indeed, result in a boost in their ratings. It should come as no surprise that they are stooping to the same tactics with this year’s programming for Shark Week. At the end of the day, it’s all about ratings (and advertising money) for Shark Week.

Fear sells better than education does, apparently. When it comes to Shark Week, Discovery Channel seems to have abandoned the education aspect a long time ago.

7 comments

  1. amelia says:

    While I agree a reenactment is probably i bit insensitive, I have learned alot about sharks from watching shark week, including how rare it is to be bitten by a shark. While some of the shows do tend towards fear-mongering the majority explain why the shark attack happened and what you can do should you ever be bitten by a shark.

  2. Tim says:

    I would agree that it could be too soon for some to see the re-enactment. However, I’m almost positive that Discovery would have to get consent from the family to air a re-enactment of the attack. Also, Shark Week is very educational. The number of fatal attacks from sharks has decreased. The number one reason is we are becoming more educated about sharks and there nature.

  3. TheDorsalFin says:

    Tim and Amelia,

    Thanks for the feedback. I would agree that in the grand scheme of things, Shark Week has largely provided educational programming. However, in the past few years, there has been a noticeable shift in the focus of the programming and even more so in how Shark Week is promoted. Discovery executives even admitted that they used a fear-based approach to marketing Shark Week last year. Some of the programming in recent years has also been glaringly factually inaccurate at times. I think a lot of the knowledge that the general public has about sharks can be credited to Shark Week programming, which is why I think it’s important that the programming is well-balanced and fact-based.

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