Ugghhhhh! That History Channel!

Posted on March 4, 2008 by


OK, time to rant… I often wonder where history is anymore within the so-called History Channel. Yes, certainly it can be said that studying the universe is a part of history, but I think it would fit more appropriately in the Discovery Channel or a channel that concentrates on science. Sure, I like the series The Universe, but really, when I turn to the History Channel, I’d like to see… what else, but history! However, it doesn’t end with The Universe. I know several people in the history field who refer to the History Channel as the “Hitler Channel,” and at times I think that saying this is justified. How many times, for example, does the History Channel have to mull over the personality of Adolph Hitler and his cronies? Yes, yes, I know, it is history, but I think they should mix it up a bit. Apparently, they did just that beginning with this morning’s programing. Every Tuesday, at 7 a.m., just while I am getting my kids ready for school and getting ready to head out myself, I turn to the History Channel to Civil War Journalwatch Civil War Journal. I know it isn’t the greatest Civil War show, but, when I’m starved for Civil War programing, the noise of an old familiar show works for me (sort of like having Ken Burns’ The Civil War in the DVD player just for the odd comfort of narration and sound). Alas, to my horror, Civil War Journal is gone! It has been replaced by, oh my!… the cartoon, Liberty Kids. Here we go again… I mean, after watching about 5 minutes of it (more out of shock than fascination), I found it so full of historical generalizations and yet, somehow, it has found its place once more on the History Channel. So what’s up with the History Channel?! Is it that they are so starved for funding that they plop in whatever works for them from a financial standpoint or do they really find their content worthy of being called good historical material? And then, just as I begin to settle down a little, when I click on the link the the History Channel I am reminded that the channel continues on its path of “broadened interpretation” of what history should be shown on the tube… for the new series called the Ax Men commeth! Again, don’t get me wrong. Yes, there is history behind lumbermen, just as there was with the ice truckers, but come on! Where’s some new programing about the type of history that many historians would like to see? There are a lot of unearthed topics out there worth mulling over that would be of greater interest to historians as well as general lovers of history.