What Does Shark Week Tell Us About Sharks?
The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” is a television event that highlights some of the most incredible and feared species on the planet. However, sharks are also some of the most endangered species due to human activity, such as shark finning. Generally speaking, Discovery’s coverage paints them in a light that reinforces their feared image and marks them as dangerous killing machines.
This online analysis looks at how, with powerhouse ratings reach, Discovery has a responsibility to portray sharks more accurately, as negative public perception of sharks has a detrimental impact on conservation. In addition, the author notes that “the pro-conservation effect of a PSA does not work as well when a conservation message is interspersed with violent, fearmongering imagery.” For a programming week that is based around sensationalism, it is, however, hard to imagine how a more realistic version of Shark Week could exist and still pull in the ratings.
For advocates, this article is a great resource for quick, pro-shark facts, and a good reminder than not all publicity for animals is good publicity.