Open Letter to Discovery Channel

Dear good folks at the Discovery Channel,

Over the years I’ve enjoyed many programs on your channel. @Discovery.ca (now Daily Planet), Mythbusters, and occasional documentaries on such topics as astronomy, archaeology, history, nature, and paleontology.

Recently I have noticed a significant decline in the quality of your programming. Once a bastion of popular science, Discovery channel has become a breeding ground for mainstream pseudoscientific nonsense – assuming the show is at all scientific. Most shows now on Discovery are things like Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch, Storm Chasers, Future Weapons, and other such high-octane non-scientific programming. I no longer see as many thought-provoking and educational documentaries as I once did. Many documentaries are CGI speculations of what might have happened with this or that dinosaur or they are absolute drivel.

“Mystery of the Crystal Skulls”, for example, was a documentary that I had a slight interest in because of the recent Indiana Jones movie, as you were no doubt counting on for most of your audience that evening. I thought it might be interesting to see what the real-life thoughts were from archaeologists on that topic so I tuned in. It took only 30 seconds for my hopes to be dashed. Within that time, the show managed to reference the 2012 end-of-the-world “prediction” of the Mayans – utter and total nonsense. Following that was an interview with Richard Hoagland of all people. A man so thoroughly debunked, he is a laughingstock even within the pseudoscientific community. The show had the audacity to say that he “gained credibility” through his discovery of the face on Mars. Once again, a topic so thoroughly debunked it’s absolutely incredible that in 2008, I still have to hear about it.

The only saving grace for the channel is Mythbusters and even that gets sketchy at times — going after explosions and not taking the 2 seconds it would take to explain that they did, say, 100 trials rather than the one they happened to air for the show.

I simply can’t take it anymore. So, I’m sad to say that I’ll be leaving you, Discovery Channel, and I won’t be back until you shape up.

Sincerely,
An extremely disappointed scientist.

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