Now why is it that an hour of fiction on a shark produces international outrage, but a weekly series asking us to worship aliens or one claiming Jesus’ miracle kids are the secret rulers of America garner no such protests?
I’m also surprised that so few commentators are aware that Discovery is also the parent company of Animal Planet, whose two fake mermaid documentaries in 2012 and 2013 were among the channel’s biggest ratings successes. No wonder Discovery imported the technique to its main channel. Last night Discovery’s other channel, the Military Channel, showed a documentary that advocated the existence of the imaginary Vril Society, a fake Nazi-era occult group whose existence was promoted by ancient astronaut theorists like Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels. They also showed another hour on the Nazis’ secret meetings with extraterrestrials. These documentaries were intended seriously, and their makers believed them to be true or simply did not care whether they were true.
The problem, of course, is that Discovery aired their fake documentary in the middle of nonfiction programming and they did nothing to suggest it was anything but truthful. Sure, Animal Planet had done the same thing, but they made their mermaid show into an event rather than burying it amid similarly-themed truthful programs.
The selective media outrage, though, is disheartening. At the same time that Discover asked readers to protest Discovery, the Gannett newspaper chain published a lengthy new article on UFOs in which they gave Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos a platform to promote the youth appeal of fake science and the “Contact in the Desert” ancient astronaut-UFO conference:
“This is a really, really great conference to attend if you’re interested in talking in person to the people that have appeared on ‘Ancient Aliens,’” said Tsoukalos, an associate of “Chariots of the Gods” author Erich von Daniken. “I am always incredibly grateful to be not only invited to speak at these things, but also to go to them and meet people interested in these topics because, back in the early ’90s, the average age of conferences like this was in the 80s. Now there are young people coming and that to me clearly indicates a craving for knowledge — knowledge that clearly exists.”
The article provides no balance, or even an attempt to suggest that ancient astronautics has detractors. Instead, Tsoukalos informs us—and this blows my mind—that he doesn’t care about the actual facts about the aliens!
Tsoukalos doesn’t necessarily believe we’ve had contact from Venus. He doesn’t want to know where the aliens are from because, he said, “That to me adds another level of speculation that actually turns off the general public to our ideas. I think it is better to approach the general public with just the idea that we’ve been visited.”
So, to recap: Suggesting the aliens came from a particular planet “turns off” audiences, but telling Ancient Aliens viewers that bird-headed aliens from the Orion nebula built a space station to monitor Babylon is perfectly fine. Conclusion: Ancient Aliens viewers are not the general public.
On the plus side, though, the White Mountain Independent published this editorial opposing the ancient astronaut theory in yesterday’s paper.
I am of the opinion that the ancient peoples of the world do not get the credit they deserve for innovation and intelligence. The ancient Greeks built self-propelled, steam-driven three-wheeled carts and other things that can only be described as machines full of gears that drove mechanisms. But alien visitors imparting that knowledge to them is just not fair to the human inventors of long ago who actually deserve the credit for thinking outside the box.
And as Tsoukalos notes, that free pass has helped the ancient astronaut theory influence a whole new generation via the Ancient Aliens TV show, bringing thousands upon thousands of young people into the fold.