Soon-to-be CNN host Mike Rowe – the former star of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel – took to his Facebook page to express amusement that a 2006 photo promoting “Shark Week” was used by an NPR station in Kansas City to bash “Shark Week” as....jumping the shark.
Rowe wrote that the photo reminded him of being extremely scared (“pint of urine” scared) because it was taken “approximately five seconds before the shark behind me attempted to bite my mask off.”
While the photo brought back a rush of jolly memories, I was a bit shocked to see it in a slideshow next to a headline that read, "When Wildlife Documentaries Jump the Shark."
The article that followed bemoaned the state of today's non-fiction programming, and said some rather unflattering things about producers and networks who deliberately mislead their audience. Happily, I wasn't mentioned by name. At least, not in the article. My face however, was on full display, and the caption below it read as follows:
“Mike Rowe scubas in protective underwater gear as he hosts an episode of Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week.' Critics say sensationalized wildlife documentaries, like some of those broadcast during Shark Week, do more harm than good.” [emphasis mine]
I know the truth is important to NPR, so I hope you won't mind if I clear up some potential confusion. The last time I hosted Shark Week was 2008. The photo you posted is 8 years old, and while I admit the composition and quality are both first-rate, I can't help but wonder if someone else's image – maybe someone currently associated with Shark Week or actually employed by Discovery - might have made more sense. Especially in an article whose fundamental point is to chastise networks for deliberately confusing their viewers.
A commenter mocked KCUR, the NPR station: "Mike Rowe hasn't hosted Shark Week since 2008 and is no longer employed by The Discovery Network. Outstanding fact checking. Rob Lowe was in their promos this year. Maybe you meant him....I mean the names do rhyme."
The photo came down, and an editor’s note apologized: “Rowe has pointed out on his Facebook page that he last hosted a Shark Week show in 2008. The photo shouldn't have been included in a report about what critics have said regarding more recent Shark Week presentations.” But it lives on elsewhere on the Web...
(HT: Ken "Fear the Turtle" Shepherd)