Ah, Discovery Channel's Shark Week -- the summer event to which that many television viewers look forward. Last year alone, the "Phelps vs. Shark" stunt garnered 5 million views on the Sunday it aired. However, Shark Week has been battling reports of flat-out lies over the past few years as scientists and others take up arms against the Discovery Channel. It's not hard to prove that a shark is extinct, that shark attacks aren't as common as you might think, or that sharks are not actually terrorizing a town. In fact, Discovery itself often adds disclaimers to Shark Week programming. But who actually reads the fine print, often posted hours after the fact?
As disappointing as it may be to learn that Shark Week isn't real, it's doubtful that many viewers are surprised that reports of monstrous sharks are a mixture of CGI, myths, and edited footage. Read on to find out exactly what lies Shark Week has been peddling to viewers for years.
That massive shark Discovery pledged to find and affirmed was real? Yeah, Megalodon has been extinct for more than a million years, according to scientists and oceanographers. Regardless, the network was accused of using fake footage and manipulating storylines in a deceitfully-angled front to portray Megalodon as non-extinct, only bothering to run a "fantasy, not fact" disclaimer at the end of the two-hour show. Equally egregious, though, is that the Discovery Channel defended the Megalodon episode, noting that with so much of the ocean left unexplored, who's to say Megalodon isn't out there? (Scientists).
Despite plenty of advertisements claiming that the most decorated Olympian of all time would be racing a shark in the next pool lane over, that was not the case on the actual broadcast. Phelps and the shark were outfitted with devices to monitor their speed, and Discovery used CGI to make it look as though an actual race were taking place. They were, in fact, not swimming in the same body of water at all.
Imagine the shock of residents in the Lake Ontario region upon learning that a monster shark was living right under their noses! After a statement from the Natural Resources Minister and plenty of real fear, Discovery decided to let everyone know the viral video was just a marketing campaign to get viewers ready and excited for Shark Week.
Discovery claimed to be searching for two specific sharks: Old Hitler and Harbor Master. These monstrous hammerheads -- supposedly menacing Floridians for 60 years -- are also not real. Turns out hammerheads have a maximum lifespan of 44 years! If this sounds like a broken record, that's because it is. Discovery has a history of making scientists believe they're talking about something else entirely, and then using that footage to make it seem like mythical creatures are real. The "monster" great white shark, Submarine is also not real, with no science behind it.