For the 26th summer in a row, the Discovery Channel has begun to insist that new information has been learned about sharks, as they gear up for their annual Shark Week lineup of programming. For the past fews weeks, the cable channel has begun heavily promoting Shark Week programming by telling viewers in no uncertain terms that they have new information about sharks which was not available last year.
Shark Week ads currently running on the channel all play up the same angle. One 30 second spot simply shows footage of a swimming shark while Discovery Channel regular and Shark Week 2014 host Mike Rowe says:
“We’ve known about these mighty sea beasts since the dawn of time. But this year, we might finally have them figured out.”
It’s important to note that not even the Discovery Channel is claiming that sharks themselves have changed substantially in the past year. Indeed, sources close to sharks tell Empire News that, while individual sharks may have been born or died in the past year, the sharks as a species have not changed substantially in several centuries.
Discovery Channel CEO David Zaslav said in a press conference earlier this week that he was excited to get to report all the developments in the human-shark relationship to viewers each summer. Says Zaslav, “People are learning new things about sharks every day. And the public at large relies on us to bring them that information once per year in a grand celebration of knowledge. Sure, they could just keep up with any new shark information as it comes out just by using a few Yahoo! News alerts, but why go through all the trouble?”
In the same conference, Zaslav responded to critics of Shark Week, who have recently begun to allege that the week of programming is not educational at all, but simply an almost voyeuristic celebration of stories of swimmers being maimed, secretly aired under the guise of learning. Zaslav says this claim couldn’t be further from the truth but that “For the record, we will be telling all the gory details of every shark attack that took place in the past year. For learning, though, not for fun.”
Empire News was able to speak to Roger Finn, a shark currently living off the cost of Australia. Mr. Finn had not been aware of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week until we spoke to him, but once he became informed he had some strong views on the subject.
“Is this a joke? No, there isn’t new stuff to cover about sharks every year.” Said Finn. “I mean sure, we have a vibrant culture and we do lots of things with each other, but it sounds to me like all these programs are just about times that we tried to eat people, and that process really hasn’t changed in millennia.”
Zasalav claims that they really do try to incorporate at least one new fact every year during Shark Week. He says this year scientists had discovered that the long-held belief that women who were menstruating should not swim near sharks was really just an old wives’ tale.
“As our research team has discovered, even sharks have no interest in eating a woman who is on her period.” Said Zasalav.
“Not for nothing, but why exactly are you singling us out here?” Asked Finn. “You know, lots of other animals kill more people than sharks. Cows, for example. Cows kill more of you than we do. Mosquitoes? They’re like the #1 human killer of all time. I really can’t help but feel like you guys are really being jerks about this. It’s almost racist.”