The Discovery Channel Killed Steve Irwin

Update: This post is now on Netscape.
Update2: The title of this post is not intended to be literal. The Discovery Channel did not get out of bed and kill Steve Irwin, the point I’m making is that they are create the climate in which people are taking more and more risk in the name of ratings.


First, let me start by saying my sympathies go out to the family and friends of Steve Irwin. Steve’s death is a tragedy, and as a fan of nature films I feel compelled to write this editorial.

It’s clear to me that Discovery channel is responsible for Steve’s death.

This summer I realized that Discovery channel was out of control when I Tivo-ed and watched all of “Shark Week.” One show, “Sharks: Are they Hunting Us,” was one of the most irresponsible pieces of television put on the air. The “naturalist” named Dave Salmoni, who does not even know how to SCUBA dive (hello?!), decides the only way he can answer the question in the title of the show is to free dive skin dive with–wait for it–great white sharks.

(blogger note: thanks for the free/skin diving correction guys–I knew it was the wrong term, but they kept using it on the show)

Free diving Skin diving means without a cage. Over the course of the show this reckless idiot, who is struggling with his scuba gear in shallow water, gets up close and personal with seriously dangerous sharks. This idiot is known for another special, Into the Lions Den, in which he almost gets himself killed–you guessed it–getting up close and personal with lions.

We don’t need to see someone killed by sharks to learn that sharks are dangerous.

We don’t need to see someone killed by a lion to learn that lions are dangerous.

You can look at a shark or lion and just know they are dangerous–I mean, just look at the teeth! In fact, footage of people being attacked by lions and sharks exists, but Discovery Channel, in their quest for ratings, seems obsessed with getting *new* footage of people *almost* getting killed.

Discovery channel is turning into a modern day version of the Running Man, where desperate people risk their lives for fame.

There are people out there like Timothy Treadwell, who was killed by the grizzly bears he taunted for years, who will risk their lives for fame. There seem to be a lot of them. Discovery channel proudly presented the Treadwell documentary, Grizzly Man, with non-stop promotion last year. They’ve promoted Irwin (who carried his son into a croc feeding) for years, and now they are promoting this idiot Salmoni who clearly has a death wish.

Without Discovery channel paying top dollar for this footage there would be no market for these maniacs who put their lives at risk. Discovery is responsible for creating the “naturalists have to risk their lives to be credible” genre, and they need to take a long hard look in the mirror and think about what they done. They are responsible for Steve Irwin’s death, and they are inspiring a second wave of risk takers who are undoubtedly going to meet Steve’s fate.

And please don’t tell me people make their own choices in life when you underwrite their entire existence and fame with your network. You guys could have drawn the line at any time. You could have told Salmoni that you wouldn’t air his idiotic shark documentary, but you didn’t because you would have lost your biggest teaser for shark week this year.

Think about it, you’re the market makers. Watch this video–this is what you are promoting.

  • http://UNKNOWN Meghan Tryphena Pritchard

    how can you say that sharks are extremly dangerous, you are
    more likely to be killed by a falling coconut or a vending
    machine! people always always just blame shatks because they
    have big teath. when you go into the water and swim with a
    shark you will reasise that the only reason you scared of
    them is because you are taught to be scared of them, under
    water its peace, they dont want to attack you they just
    want to relax and avoid being slaughtered by somw
    human maniac! yours.. meghan

  • http://dansjp3page.com John

    Some people are so passionate about the animals and educating the plebian, that they are willing to accept great risks. It seems to me like they enjoy it…and who wouldn’t? Adrenaline is pounding, you are in the wild so far away from everyday normality and being faced with one of the most ferocious predators on the planet (shark, bear, lion, croc)…and there are camera’s filming your every move. I cannot imagine a better job. I would do this in a heartbeat.

    What makes this jobs risks different from any others?
    Each year, more truckers die from accidents on the road and drug overdoses than all the animal attacks in the world combined (in a single year).

    This job is more extreme,
    and so are the risks that associate with it.

    Who chooses your job for you? YOU do. You decide to work the nine to five, he decides to play with lions and sharks.

    I side with Dave.