While the rest of the world is increasingly appreciative of sharks and the magnificence of diving with them, Discovery Network continues to pedal its false portrayal of sharks as monsters.
Discovery Channel's Shark Week has begun again. The week-long shark extravaganza was first shown in 1987, and has become a major feature of Discovery's programming. Since its inception, it has been highly profitable for the network, but at what cost?
Shark Week uses sharks for the horror-show effect that draws a wide audience. In the absence of any real sea monsters, Discovery has cast sharks in that role, following in the footsteps of the movie "Jaws", by dramatizing shark attacks, bloody waters, and the animals' unusual dentition. The show has created a wave of fear of the sea in the generation who grew up watching it.
Yet, "Jaws" was advertised as a fictional horror film, whereas Discovery claims that its horror shows are factual. Its website states that the company is “dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content.”
Hatred for sharks
After the movie "Jaws" was released, a wave of hatred for sharks arose that resulted in their mass slaughter, particularly along the east coast of America. Prior to that, sports fishermen had targeted fish, and considered sharks to be as undesirable as snakes.
Russell Drumm gives an eye-witness account in his book "In the Slick of the Cricket".
“The rotting juice of the competitors' tons of discarded sharks drips from the marina's 20 yard dumpsters. Next day, in the landfill, small mountains of sharks, still graceful in their piles, are claimed by seagulls and flies.”
The author also describes toothed whales being caught and ground up for shark bait. These whales were hung from telephone poles along with the sharks, as part of the general killing orgy.