One of the more irritating things about the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel, which purport to be pro-science and educational, is how often they put on shows that push egregious nonsense instead of critical thinking. And a new NatGeo show about UFOs is so bad that even the stars of the show are now slamming the network:
The two stars of the show, James Fox and Ben McGee, left these comments on the Facebook page of a New York Times reporter:
Fox: “I know how disappointed all of you are. I am too. It’s not the show that was sold to both myself and scientist Ben. Two months into it, we were off to a great start; good locations, solid witnesses and some opportunities for Ben to apply his field research as a geologist at some crash sites. Very exciting stuff. Unfortunately, when we actually got out in the field, we began to realize that they were more interested in poking around at night than allocating the time necessary during the day as, apparently (so we were told), Americans love watching others sneak around at night from the comfort of their couches. For the most part, it was gratuitous nighttime baloney. … I promise I’ll either quit or change my position within the show because at least I can make it all make some sense. The show does get a bit better further down the road, but not a lot. … My credibility and reputation has, deservedly, taken a serious hit.”
McGee: “When we were brought onboard, the project certainly had a much harder inclination than its final realization, and as a career scientist, I was excited that NatGeo was at the helm (unaware of their desire for a major shift in programming flavor). Our intentions were very sincere. … James and I both had expectations and (for our own reasons) hopes of an ultimately serious product. We both saw the project heading in a different direction as time went on and were powerless to influence it. Injecting science into mainstream media is also problematic, and I am suffering heat in my own circles for the lack thereof on the show.”
NatGeo is offering nothing but PR spin, completely unwilling to admit that they’re putting pseudo-scientific bullshit on TV. Just another reason why I’m happy to have left ScienceBlogs after NatGeo took over.