Registration for the course opened yesterday.
According to course materials, the University entered the partnership as a branding opportunity. “This partnership combines the academic rigor of an OU course with the quality of a HISTORY Channel production.”
Since the University cites the History Channel’s content—specifically on American history—as a selling point for their course, it is incumbent upon all of us to point out time and again that the History Channel is selling a bill of goods based on creationism, New Age mysticism, conspiracy theories, and lies.
One wonders what happens when academic honesty comes into conflict with the entertainment imperative of the History Channel. What happens when the facts contradict History Channel content? For example, a few days ago History Channel personality Scott Wolter called two scholars, Robert Mainfort of the University of Arkansas and historian Mary Kwas, “frauds” and “hit men” (his words in an Oct. 24 comment) for disagreeing with his revisionist history of the Bat Creek Stone. How would a History Channel course handle such claims? Do students get credit for calling their professor an agent of an Illuminati-Freemason conspiracy?
On the plus side, if History is serious about growing its brand into a line of college courses and, perhaps, a Kaplan-like educational organization, they may find that a steady diet of anti-historical programs like Search for the Lost Giants, Ancient Aliens, and America Unearthed will damage their ability to profit from the education sector. It certainly isn’t making it easy for them to argue with a straight face that History is actually devoted to history… In fact, an official from parent company A+E Networks claimed only that History looked at the past in “compelling, entertaining and groundbreaking ways”—pointedly not accurate, truthful, or insightful ways.
I wonder if History’s pivot toward education is behind some of its recent marketing changes. I noticed, for example, that unlike previous years, History declined to serve as a sponsor of the Paradigm Symposium fringe history gathering. It would be rather hard to credibly offer an American history course while giving money to a gathering of revisionist fringe historians.
None of this is stopping History from launching its fringe series on Bible giants next week. In anticipation of this, I’ve started collecting some of the newspaper accounts of giants that fringe historians cite as “evidence” that a race of prehistoric basketball players once traveled America. These accounts will form the bases of the new Search for the Lost Giants series. Since these newspaper stories are primarily from the nineteenth century, they are in the public domain and require no permission to reproduce. It’s especially interesting to see that the stories of “giants” in the nation’s newspapers explode after the Cardiff giant hoax, and many stories are reported from a biblical framework, and often from secondhand or third-hand sources. Some are obvious hoaxes.
That said, I can’t vouch for the accuracy of each transcription since I have not viewed all of the original sources. Where I have attempted to verify the originals, I’ve found that Nephilim researchers and gigantologists have been deceptive and selective in their presentation of the newspaper stories, sometimes editing out inconvenient facts or literary flourishes that indicate that a story was meant as entertainment rather than news. In one case, for example, Richard Dewhurst removed wording indicating that the newspaper was not reporting on a “giant” from its own observation but rather was writing about the memory of an “informant” who claimed to have seen a giant skeleton at some unspecified earlier point years before—and who also said he couldn’t remember most of the details!
That same article begins with a disclaimer that all but admits that the story is semi-fictional hearsay, one that is rarely (but sometimes!) included in fringe reproductions of the story, such as the one in Richard Dewhurst's recent compendium of giant stories:
The statements which we make below, and the facts detailed, are so strange and almost incredible, and so like the many roorbacks and canards that have from time to time appeared in the press of Europe and America, that we premise them with the declaration that they are strictly true, and that we have not exaggerated what we have seen, one iota. With this much as preface, we will proceed to our story.