Smoking gun shark photo that was doctored by Discovery

There were plenty of allegations about what was faked in the fake documentary by Animal Planet about Megalodon. Here is a piece of clear evidence.

Did Discovery Channel fake the image in its giant shark documentary? | George Monbiot | Environment | theguardian.com.

The suspicion that the Discovery Channel had abandoned its professed editorial standards was a powerful one. As I mentioned in my earlier blog, its documentary claiming that the giant shark Carchardon megalodon still exists contained images which gave a strong impression of being faked; reports of incidents which don’t appear to have happened; and interviews with “marine biologists” no one has been able to trace.

But allegations of fakery are very hard to prove. As you know, absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence of absence. Just because no one has been able to find the news reports the Megalodon show claims to have found, or any record of the deaths of four people in an attack by a giant shark off South Africa last year, or any trace of the suspiciously handsome experts it used to confirm its thesis doesn’t prove definitively that all of them are inventions, even though it’s hard to see how they could not be.

This is the picture in question.

George Mombiot blog on sharks : German submarine and shark

As the author notes, there are already several points that strongly suggest it was altered from an original:

no U-boats of this class are known to have been close to South Africa on the given date, that everything about the shark fins looks wrong, that at 64 feet between the dorsal fin and the tail this monster was twice the size even of the actual creature (which every expert on Earth, except the two mysterious “marine biologists” in the film, believe became extinct about 2 million years ago), and that the great beast creates neither bow wave nor wake, [...]

Also, the swastika and toned sepia were ludicrous.

Since Discovery Networks were not saying everything in the piece was real (did they ever allege ANYTHING was real?), there was already a sound foundation to conclude that this picture was a fake, too, and believe NOTHING in the show at all. But Mombiot has located the original picture. No surprise. There is no shark. Smoking gun found.

But here is the kicker and the point that angers most people who were enraged at the Discovery Network. They have deceived people for dollars and have failed miserably in their mission statement: To satisfy curiosity and make a difference in people’s lives, by providing the highest quality content, services and products that entertain, engage and enlighten.

It’s not entertaining, engaging or enlightening to be played for a fool for advertising dollars. Discovery channel is fiction, just like the rest of television land.

I think we had plenty to scuttle “Discovery Channel as factual science” with before this piece. It’s rather unneccesary but it provides another dig at a anti-science fakery in the media.

Discovery channel touts… giant shark. You KNEW this was coming, didn’t you? (UPDATE: Pwned) | Doubtful News.

Animal Planet sciences up Mermaids with ‘A Body Found’ | Doubtful News.

Thanks, Dan @mootcycle

  6 comments for “Smoking gun shark photo that was doctored by Discovery

  1. fatimavh
    February 21, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Can we please have a real Science (History/Nature, all combined) run by skeptics, please? Any way to Kickstart that?

    • February 21, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      I remember the old days when cable channels such as History, Discovery, A&E, Bravo, etc. actually showed quality programming and didn’t suffer from “mission creep”.

      Thank god for PBS.

    • Chris Howard
      February 24, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      I think it would have to be a consortium of all the major skeptic and science education organizations providing the necessary resources.

      Barring that you’d need a, or a few, major donors to fund it. Kickstarter only has a 30 something percent success rate, and the project usually doesn’t get all the funding it asked for.

      I do believe it is a great idea, though. As with everything strategy is easy, logistics is hard.

  2. Randy
    February 21, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    “Discovery Channel had abandoned its professed editorial standards”

    In which decade did this occur? Surely nobody thought Discovery had editorial standards in this decade..?

  3. walter w.
    February 22, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    The shows Discovery actually ‘produce’ are quite good, unfortunately Discovery buys most of their shows, which are formulaic unoriginal and repetitive. and since that is the majority of their shows, discovery sucks, but i do look out for their specials that they actually produce.
    Same goes for the history channel, enough with the pawn shop shows already, UK pawn stars is the straw that broke the camels back, that one is horrible, its even worst than that Louisiana red neck pawn shop show. History channels original shows are quite good though, like “the men who built America” 4 part series.

    • Chris Howard
      February 24, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      That’s an excellent point.

      Producing good content with high production value is hella expensive. This is why a lot of local news outlets and educational programs air video news releases (commercials/press releases disguised as news).

      Battlestar Galactica was three to seven million dollars an episode (Chrome and Steel did it for less because they used the props, and stock footage from the original) but my point is that in just a few years those same episodes would cost ten to twelve million an episode.

      Educational content is significantly less expensive to produce, but it is still costly. This doesn’t factor in the costs of distribution, advertising, marketing, etc.

      This is why money and ratings will always influence content. More to the point, what the audience and producers want to see is what will be provided.

      So if you want to do real educational content in the US the best model is the PBS model. That said, the content will still be expensive to create. Frontline, or Now, or Bill Moyers are costly programs.

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