There is breaking news from the world of fringe history. Earlier today onetime CueCat inventor J. Hutton Pulitzer announced that his “Investigating History” branded media products were joining forces with forensic geologist Scott Wolter of the recently cancelled America Unearthed and Pirate History of the Knights Templar television series for an online multimedia venture called XpLrR, according to a badly written press release Pulitzer posted to his blog this morning. It seems that Pulitzer pulled the switch a little early on announcing a venture that isn’t really up and running.
Pulitzer alleged that the “historic merger” between two diffusionist pseudohistory investigators occurred due to the discovery of unnamed “tombs” in North America that the two allege will rewrite history.
Wolter claimed that XpLrR is needed because archaeologists refuse to embrace scientific technology and are too wedded to orthodoxy.
Problem is the academic community has been slow to embrace rapidly changing scientific technologies, and resistant to new theories and ideas about history, even combative at times. The recorded history of mankind is now in direct conflict with what the mountain of new facts being recorded thanks to these scientific advances.
Wolter and Pulitzer plan to bypass cable TV (which they deride as too influenced by reality shows) and produce video content for streaming through online and on demand platforms like Apple TV. Pulitzer alleges that content will also be available on PBS, but there is no confirmation of that from PBS, which did not participate in the press release. Perhaps this means that they plan to offer their content for broadcast on individual PBS stations. Pulitzer claims that he and Wolter will produce “four spin off network TV series,” which seems both optimistic and wrong. I assume by “network” he actually means “cable” since broadcast TV networks do not currently air any pseudohistory programming, let alone four series.
The new joint venture appears to be as slapped together as the pair’s hypotheses about history, and it seems that they have not done the research to secure the rights to their own company name. As of this writing, Wolter and Pulitzer have not trademarked the XpLrR name, and I’d be interested to hear from National Geographic, owner of the trademark on the word Explorer for multimedia products for their 31-year-old documentary series, if they will allow the pair to use name unchallenged. Similarly, the XPLRR name is owned by an Atlanta-based geolocation app, as is the xplrr.com website. He had to settle for https://xplrr.tv/, which has no content and only a basic template design, with a photo taken, seemingly without permission, from National Geographic.
Another example of the lack of care that went into the announcement: As of this writing, the Twitter hashtags #GoXplrr and #WolterPulitzer meant to direct readers to the new venture return no results. Further, Pulitzer’s press release is badly written, full of errors, and fails to conform to standard press release format. (I say this as a trained communications specialist who has written his share of press releases.) He also chose to release the information late on Friday morning, a historically dead time for garnering any sort of attention for the venture since most publications (mine included) that would have covered such a story have already finalized their material for the weekend.
The only positive from the announcement is that the two seem to have finally taken my advice that audiences would benefit from having richer digital content, including access to primary sources, to support each episode of any new series. They plan to offer such content on digital platforms. After all, if I can do it in the hour it takes to watch one of these shows, surely our heroes, with their new company and a TV production staff, can manage to do the same amount of work with several months’ lead time.
Pulitzer declined to provide details on any of the new company’s upcoming products, or to elaborate on the “tombs” they plan to investigate. Under U.S. law, it is typically illegal to disturb graves, so it will be interesting to see how they will “explore” such tombs legally.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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