WCBV-TV plays up fears about great white sharks off Chatham

WCBV-TV’s article, Diver Narrowly Escapes Shark off Cape Cod, along with an accompanying video segment, in which the anchor describes the event as "so frightening," report on an incident in which a diver was in the water recovering a satellite tag, while a great white shark was spotted swimming toward the diver from "a quarter-mile away." by spotter pilot. Without the ability to read a shark’s mind, it would be hard to say just what the diver "narrowly escaped," if anything. While it’s certainly possible that the shark could have had predatory intentions, there isn’t really any way of knowing one way or the other.

The shark sightings near Chatham, and the tagging events are exciting news, on their own. There is no need to drum up headlines that imply would-be attacks. The same story could have been reported based simply on the facts…

A diver was in the water, when a spotter pilot noticed one of the sharks moving swiftly in the direction of the diver. As a precautionary measure the diver was promptly alerted and exited the water without incident.

The story itself is reported fairly objectively in the article. It’s the headline that comes off as a bit over-the-top. I guess a headline of "Diver Safely Exits Water After Shark Warning" simply doesn’t draw as much attention as a headline about "narrowly escaping" a shark.

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