Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 3 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (3 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   6 comments

Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Sci Tech

The History Channel Now Does an Enormous Disservice to its Viewers

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Valuable 3   Must Read 2   Funny 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 1/10/14

- Advertisement -

From the mid-1990's to the late-2000's, there was a terrific thing on basic cable called The History Channel.   A rich oasis in a dismal wasteland, it offered gritty, fact-filled documentaries on all things historical, including piracy, the Old West, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, Nazi Germany, and so on.   From its beginnings, The History Channel had its critics; they complained that its programming was heavily skewed towards middle-aged men, and that it was obsessed with Adolf Hitler.   Still, during this brief time period, everyone had to agree that The History Channel was truly educational, and was one of television's best offerings.

That was then; this is now.   Arguably, The History Channel is currently one of the worst networks on American television.   Officially called "History" now, the network seems to have completely forgotten about its important original mission:   to educate viewers.   The new channel, to boost profits and to trim production costs, now broadcasts a depressing, steady stream of reality-TV programs.   It's also wading deeply into outright pseudoscience.   To make matters even worse, its current format is proving to be immensely profitable, and it looks clear that its programming is going to degenerate even further.   That is tragic.

Let's start with the reality-TV programs.   A few years ago, History learned what The Big Three Networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) have known for decades:   that reality-TV programs can be tremendous money-makers.   Thus, History is currently littered with such shows:   Pawn Stars, American Restoration, American Pickers, Ax Men, Ice Road Truckers, etc.   As far as reality-TV programs go, they're relatively inoffensive.   At least they don't feature debauched fading celebrities.   Generally, they are about real people (such as pawnbrokers  and lumberjacks) doing real things (such as haggling and arguing at their workplaces).   Still, they have virtually nothing to do with actual history.   Some defenders feebly insist that the "antiquing" shows--such as Pawn Stars and American Pickers--are relevant to history:   after all, they deal with antiques.   However, it's a failed defense.   On these programs, history takes a backseat.   Their major draws stem from the seemingly endless haggling over prices.   They really don't teach anyone about actual history.   Of course, no one can defend programs like Ax Men and Ice Road Truckers, even if they are likable ones.   They have nothing to do with history at all.   They may as well be on CBS, NBC, or TLC.  

These reality-TV shows on History are disappointing.   Far worse is History's ever-growing reliance on so-called "educational" series that actually peddle pseudoscience.   The biggest offender here is Ancient Aliens, which is shown on the network ad nauseam.   Ancient Aliens premiered on History in early 2010.   It was based on the premise that, long ago, aliens journeyed to Earth to teach prehistoric humans about civilization.   Thus, aliens helped human beings to build the Pyramids and Stonehenge.   At present, it has expanded on its original theme and pushes all sorts of paranormal nonsense:   that people contain alien DNA; that the angels described in the Bible were actually spacemen; that crystals possess vast healing (and destructive) powers; that people and dinosaurs co-existed; and so on.   This program might very well be the most ridiculous series ever brought to television, and yet it is becoming a cultural phenomenon.   Millions of people take it seriously, largely because it has the general appearance of a "science" program, and because it appears on an "educational" channel.   Ironically, this "educational" series actually "dumbs down" the typical viewer. 

Many people might say:   "So what?   Television has always blended together entertainment and education."   That may be true--but only to a point.   Such people often bring up In Search Of..., Leonard Nimoy's beloved old science program that also drifted into the paranormal frequently.   No, American civilization didn't deteriorate because of Nimoy's old program, but there are numerous differences between it and Ancient Aliens.   Nimoy's series made sure that it presented the viewpoints of legitimate researchers who rejected these far-out hypotheses.   In sharp contrast, Ancient Aliens presents the paranormal as the Gospel Truth. It even hints that stuffy, elitist scientists are trying to conceal "the truth" from average persons, for whatever bizarre reason or reasons.   Thus, History is presenting programming that actively misleads viewers, and that is fraud.

Probably, the biggest victims of the ongoing fraud are children.   Most adults know that Ancient Aliens presents hokum, but children generally aren't that discriminating.   When they stumble upon a program on "educational TV," it is likely that they will swallow its contents hook, line, and sinker:   it's "educational TV," after all.   They're not learning, though.   Instead, they are bombarded with misinformation.   The History Channel is making our children less informed, and it seems to have no problem with that just as long as the profits keep rolling in.                  

- Advertisement -

 

Jonathan Maxwell is a professional writer. He holds an MA in English from Jacksonville State University in Alabama and a BA in English from Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He is the author of two books. His first one, Murderous Intellectuals: (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The History Channel Now Does an Enormous Disservice to its Viewers

On the Dark Side: An Uneasy Look at Rotten.com

Death of Impoverished Pennsylvania Professor Illustrates Plight of Adjuncts

Despite Scandal, Chris Christie Can Still Become President in 2016

Meet Conservapedia, a Right Wing Encyclopedia at War with the Truth

Mark Herring Likely to Win Virginia's A.G. Race: Takeaways for the Republicans from the 2013 Elections

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 6 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

The History Channel used to be a truly "educationa... by Jonathan Maxwell on Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 11:18:19 AM
While I agree that the History Channel has declin... by manifesto 2000 on Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 2:21:55 PM
You can not argue with closed minds! So why bothe... by Bill Johnson on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 12:51:34 PM
History and H2 are among the best cable channels ... by manifesto 2000 on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 1:10:37 PM
PBS is a liberal propaganda channel. Until they ba... by Bill Johnson on Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 10:05:41 AM
McLaughlin Group liberal? Something wrong in prin... by manifesto 2000 on Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 7:12:21 PM