July 6, 2010

What Happened to the History Channel?

history_channelHuman memory is a fragile thing, subject to all sorts of biases that can make it impossible to distinguish between real and false memories. When I think back to the quality of the programming aired on the History Channel several years ago, it seems like it was far superior to what they are airing now. I'm not sure if this is an accurate memory or just me viewing the past through rose-colored glasses. But have you seen some of the crap they now show?

I think I remember a time when the History Channel showed...you know...history. I flipped it on the other night to see a show I'd never heard of before: MonsterQuest. Based on the channel on which it was airing and the description in the onscreen guide, I figured this would involve scientists debunking various monster myths. I suspected it might be similar to MythBusters, one of my favorite shows.

No such luck. Despite there being some science, the producers were determined to leave the question of this particular monster (the Chupacabra) unanswered. The scientists came off as not being sufficiently open-minded, suggesting that they had likely missed something.

I guess I should have known better. I like the idea of television shows that at least expose the American public to scientific concepts. However, I'm not sure why it seems so irresistible for the producers of many of them to present science in an unrealistic or negative manner.

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