Should Broadcasting Fake History Be Allowed?
Earlier this week I watch an episode of Hunting Hitler on The History Channel. The programme suggests that in early 2014, the FBI declassified hundreds of pages of top secret documents proving that top USA Government officials not only believed that Hitler escaped Germany, but were also secretly spending millions of dollars trying to track him down. A team of investigators thus embark on a massive manhunt in attempt to solve the mystery.
The episode I watched was from Series 2 – evidently the programme had moved on from Adolf Hitler and was now concentrating on a certain Martin Bormann – who, despite official records stating he died on 2nd May 1945 in Berlin – the programme was convinced he actually fled to Chile.
It was an interesting enough programme, and half way through I sent out a tweet to my wonderful Twitter followers…
Now, I am fully aware of some of the conspiracy theories surrounding Adolf Hitler and other senior Nazi officials who supposedly fled to South America, but I was not aware, specifically, of anything surrounding Bormann. Turns out my Twitter family did and they were not backwards in coming forwards either! You can read the comments for yourself on my Twitter feed but suffice to say there was not a great deal of love for both the series and The History Channel. Here are a couple of choice quotes – again, you can read everything on my feed:
“Be weary of that series”
“It’s a deeply irresponsible series”
“I always advise my students NOT to watch the history channel. As much scholarship as the Daily Star.”
“Personally, I think it would be nice if there were some actual history programmes on the History Channel once in a while”
You get the picture. The people talking like this were teachers and professional historians – people that know what they are talking about. Another history blogger (Roger Morehouse) has completely smashed the series in a very angry post.
So this begs a question. If such a programme was so inaccurate and so misleading, why was it allowed to be broadcast on mainstream TV? Surely broadcasters such as The History Channel have a duty of care to ensure that their programmes contain actual historical fact and not just pure fantasy?
Answers on a postcard…