Yesterday the History channel ran a marathon of America Unearthed. I did not know this at first, but soon my email inbox filled up with messages, blog comments, and other communiqués expressing the typical range of opinion—everything from exasperation at History’s falling standards to anger at my alleged obsession with the program. This happens every time the parent network reruns the H2 channel’s highest-rated show and thus exposes it to a new and larger audience that it receives on the niche digital-tier channel.
Let me put this in context: Yesterday, during the America Unearthed marathon, my blog hits quadrupled over the previous seven days’ average. During just the few hours the show ran on History, I received more new, first-time visitors than I do in an average week. For the first time ever, nine out of the top ten search terms people use to reach my site were variations on Scott Wolter and the America Unearthed topics. The tenth? My name. A whopping sixteen out of the top twenty search terms were related to America Unearthed, with three for Ancient Aliens and one for me. And that’s for the whole month, not just yesterday. Ancient Aliens needs to start getting new episodes on the air stat, before the public completely abandons it.
Drilling down, it’s especially interesting that most of these visitors arrive on my website from Google in one of its many permutations worldwide. (Hello to new visitors from Canada, India, Britain, and Australia!) This strongly implies that viewers of America Unearthed are going online to try to learn more about the program and Scott Wolter (and indeed the blog comments and emails anecdotally support this conclusion) and then are disappointed by H2’s paltry offerings and Wolter’s inexplicable decision not to have a personal website. Depending on your Google personalization settings, my website is one of the top matches for Scott Wolter’s name, just as it is for Giorgio Tsoukalos’s. I presume this is not the ideal outcome for either.
(Incidentally: Wolter’s new book, Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers, is still not shipping, more than six weeks after its alleged publication date. I had hoped to review it this summer.)
I’ve gotten tired of trying to dig up the links to my various America Unearthed reviews, so yesterday I put up a new index page, which is linked here and in the Articles section of my site, as well as on the right hand blog information column. And now to forestall any more angry emails for people claiming I am obsessed with the show, I’ve also put up an index page to my Ancient Aliens reviews. At three times the number of my America Unearthed reviews, I think you can see that despite the wild popularity of my America Unearthed coverage, it’s hardly the overwhelming obsession so many readers—who see nothing but those reviews—think it is.
7/13/2013 08:25:32 am
"This strongly implies that viewers of America Unearthed are going online to try to learn more about the program and Scott Wolter"
7/13/2013 09:37:33 am
I was pulled into the show with the episode on cooper mining in lake superior but thought it left much to be desired in logic and facts. Watched the rest ever Friday night past winter just to see if the show improved. Instead it just got worse and worse in lack of critical thinking and incomplete hypothosis. The last few episodes went really off the rails with Templar holy grail Jesus was a father mush. It was too bad as a serious show would have been more interesting...debunking the junk and showing how myth builds on itself.
7/13/2013 09:41:24 am
I noticed it yesterday but figured you already knew.
7/13/2013 11:27:08 am
Steve St Clair is on vacations?.I was expecting one of his usual & notorious drivels. I`ll do it for him.Jason,you`re a hater, Scott Wolter is the smartest & the sexiest man alive.You`re just jealous of his success...."
7/13/2013 12:03:17 pm
I would love to hear your take on the use of "Long Range Locators" in this "reality show".
7/13/2013 12:04:53 pm
Go to the America Unearthed episode reviews linked above and then click on the Hunt for the Holy Grail episode. I discuss them therein.
7/13/2013 04:58:05 pm
"Wolter’s inexplicable decision not to have a personal website..."
7/13/2013 05:26:19 pm
Jason, it may be that you have more hits on Scott Wolter and America Unearthed because the show proposes "realistic history speculation" rather than "goofy alien stuff."
7/13/2013 06:19:08 pm
"Christ bashing, the skeptic's delight..."
7/13/2013 09:23:26 pm
Gunn.Please give me an opportunity to express my feeling towards some of my fellow atheists,like crypto racist slobs Samm Harris,Christopher Hitchens or bigoted old coot Richard Dawkins (separated at birth with Robert Spencer) ;)
7/14/2013 02:04:56 am
Harris and Hitchens Racist? O.o; Ok then...
7/14/2013 04:10:49 am
It is too late for some, even if you believed in prayer as an opportunity, which you don't.
7/14/2013 08:10:25 am
"A fool said in his heart (and to the World), "There is no God.".
7/15/2013 03:37:35 am
Tara, you would prefer this blog remained one-sided in God-bashing? There is nothing wrong with presenting a prevailing point of view to counter some of the God-bashing. I admit to being intolerant in some respects, as we all are.
7/15/2013 07:22:55 am
Gunn, I don't think there's been nearly as much God-bashing as you think there has been. Isn't it just as presumptuous to say "I am equal to God" as it is to say "There is no God?" In insisting that arguing with Christians is God-bashing, that is the statement being made--that the Christian in question is equal to their God. I can't claim to have memorized every conversation on this blog, but I can say that my overall impression has been that there has been a lot more questioning--bashing, if you will--of Christians than there has been questioning or bashing of God.
7/15/2013 12:49:36 pm
Gunn,I have a challenge for you.You wont find a quotation from which I am "bashing god".I sometime refer to Christ as a mythical character,that`s it.I am an old school atheist,I am not into sacrilegious or blasphemous,I`ll leave that to the new school of activist atheists.
7/15/2013 04:48:42 pm
Well, there's a heck of a lot to comment upon!
7/16/2013 04:04:34 am
Varika, the only Christian equal to God is the Originator of Christianity. You seem confused.
7/16/2013 05:57:38 am
Nobody's talking about the Catholic (or any other) church's "history." These people are harboring child predators NOW, this is an ongoing series of crimes; this is current events. Falwell's poisonous demagoguery is still harming people in Israel and the Territories; the evangelical churches are still launching their psychodrama to steal from their parishioners and fight scientific progress and elevate fascist politicians; the Anabaptists are still educating their kids to the age of 16 to hobble their ability to leave the church and do anything other than farm. The less said about the interdenominational Christian assault on women the better. Just this year, even here in Philadelphia, a couple had their SECOND child die from treatable infection because 'Jesus told them' not to take either kid to a doctor.
7/16/2013 09:29:12 am
Christopher Randolph. I agree with you on many points.I have no problem with Hitchens,Harris & Dawkins critical approaches to religions but they are crossing the line when it comes to Islam.This is the reason I labeled them as "crypto racists".These "courageous men" wouldn't touch Judaism with a 10 foot pole.In these days and ages, you simply cannot criticize the nature of Judaism,& question the policies of the state of Israel.
7/16/2013 09:46:18 am
Gunn,,I dont need to be a St Clair.I am related to Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian Von Ungern-Sternberg.
7/17/2013 04:12:01 pm
No, Gunn, I am absolutely not confused. It's called "making a point." In equating Christians or Christianity with God, said person is indulging in the hubris of equating him or herself with God. You, yourself, have just stated that this cannot be true. Therefore, "bashing" or criticizing Christians or Christianity is in no way God-bashing. Furthermore, I would ask that you please keep your unwelcome prayers and exhortations to "repent" to yourself. Repentance is for those who feel they have done wrong, and I feel that any God who would condemn me, who seeks to do as much good as possible and as little harm as possible in her day to day life, for failing to slavishly pay homage to a name, is not truly God. I will neither repent nor convert, and when I die, if there is a Judgment, I will stand proudly and expect to be judged on my OWN actions, and ALL of them, not just whether or not "Jesus is my FRIEND!"
7/18/2013 04:29:40 am
Varika: "In equating Christians or Christianity with God, said person is indulging in the hubris of equating him or herself with God."
7/18/2013 07:35:08 am
7/15/2013 05:48:59 am
This Star Trek nerdy folk finds Ancient Aliens deplorable.
7/16/2013 04:07:49 am
7/16/2013 02:50:00 am
So in other words Christopher, you have had negative experiences with Christianity and possitive experiences with Islam which has lended toward your opinions of both religions and practitioners. I would say there are those that have had the opposite experiences, clergy that didn't rape them, but helped them, and Muslims that tried to kill them. Experiences certainly flavor our biases. I think we would agree that while the behaivor of a small percentage of a group mars the perception of the whole group, we should be smart enough to know the majority of the group is made up of decent people, Christians and Muslims alike.
7/16/2013 03:16:21 am
No, Paul, that's not remotely accurate. Try reading for meaning.
7/17/2013 10:07:48 am
Perhaps instead of "decent people", I should have said "everyday people", the people across the globe that want to be let alone and go about their business of working, providing for their families, pursuing their happiness and their dreams. I don't think the average US citizen has a problem--a real problem--which a citizen of Iran. I don't. I'd like to think that I could sit down with an average Iranian and engage in a friendly conversation. I see both of us lamenting about the actions of our governments. I break the global population down into two groups, the citizens, and the alpha-groups--the governments, the corporations, the banks, the ones that exchange the large sums of money and make things happen. For that is what all governments have ever been and will ever be, plutocracies. Doesn’t matter whether it’s called a monarchy or a republic, wealth rules. It takes money to put ideas into action; people are motivated most by trading value. Even in the People’s Revolutions, it was only an exchange of the purse. Who holds the purse makes the rules. Usually to their benefit.
7/18/2013 08:04:06 am
7/14/2013 04:37:03 am
I like the premise of the show but I don't think it's carried out too well. For instance, in the first episode where he is trying to prove the Mayan connection in Georgia. He has the airplane fly by and do the laser imaging to get the topography of the ground below the trees. This would have been a great way to see if the terracing matched the map that the random guy in the cabin gave him, IF he hadn't shown the map to the imaging people and said "this is what we are looking for". That's confirmation bias folks. He gave the map to the people compiling the laser image, and told them that's what he wanted to see. He should have never shown them that map, let them compile their findings and then compared the two afterwards.
7/14/2013 10:32:16 am
Wait, Mr. Wolter has stated on the show that; "this is old, that makes it important"? Really?
7/14/2013 03:34:44 pm
I watched the marathon on History Channel. I had seen the show once or twice and thought it had potential. So I set my DVR to record the series. After watching 3 episodes in a row, I deleted the rest and unrecorded the show.
7/14/2013 10:33:55 pm
I watched only one episode of this "show", the Roanoke episode, before i found this site, within 5 minutes, I was searching Scott and fraud, it took more searching to find this site, but the reviews made it worth it.
8/22/2013 09:20:56 pm
America Unearthed is a fascinating study in wildly speculative historical fiction. The host is a BS factory of uncritical thought. The holes in his logic are striking, and frequently jaw dropping. 5 minutes into the first episode I viewed and I was Google searching Wolters academic credentials...
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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