Channel One News makes correction.

March 31, 2014


civilization ends 032814

Shelby Holliday: Like we said before, civilization might end a few years after you get out of college, now go have a nice day.


From Jim Metrock:

1.  On March 18, Channel One News told schoolchildren:

Next up, a new study by NASA finds that civilization could be headed for a collapse in our lifetime.

The study by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center looked at other empires and civilizations in history and found a pattern to their collapse.

Researchers say even advanced societies can fall apart when the population grows, resources like land and water become stretched, and the difference between the rich and the poor increases. And they say it could happen in the next 15-20 years.

The study does say it is not too late to prevent a collapse and recommends a fairer distribution of resources, cutting back on consumption, using more renewable resources and slowing population growth.


2.  On March 20, NASA released a statement correcting the story Channel One aired.  It should be noted that even some legitimate news outlets ran the same erroneous story.


3.  On March 26, I wrote Channel One telling them they should correct the March 18 story.

Jim Metrock   Mar 26, 2014

to CJ, Alex, sholliday, bcc: thanson, bcc: kkocinski
You probably already know your March 18 story about NASA saying civilization may be ending “in our lifetime” was a mistake – on several levels.
Your reporter said this was “a new study by NASA.” 
As you know, NASA said this was untrue.  NASA said they did not solicit, direct, or review this study and they did not endorse the study or its conclusions. This was a study done by people independent from NASA using research tools created by NASA. 
Making this “civilization is coming to an end” report one of your top stories of the day for middle school students was in itself reckless.  Not correcting this doomsday story when you know the NASA part is false is inexcusable. 
Please let me know when you correct this story on air for students.
Much Obliged,
Jim Metrock

 March 26 : Channel One News tells children civilization will end in their lifetime.


4.  On March 28, Channel One News corrected their “end of civilization” story on air.

Last up, we have an update and a correction to a story we told you about last week. We reported on a study that predicted the collapse of our current civilization in just a few decades. Channel One News, along with several other media organizations, incorrectly reported that the study was backed by NASA.

According to a statement released by NASA, the University of Maryland researchers conducting the study used ‘tools that were developed for a separate NASA activity,’ and that ‘NASA does not endorse the paper or its conclusions’.

The researchers concluded that conditions similar to what lead to the collapse of other empires and civilizations exist today, and if we follow the same pattern our civilization could fail in 15-20 years.


Ms. CJ Kettler and other Channel One News employees still don’t “get it” do they?  

They did issue a correction which is something.  (Previous Channel One employees would never have done this.) However, the reporter Shelby Holliday makes this correction sound even more horrific than the incorrect story.  The corrected story ends with “…our civilization could fail in 15-20 years.”  Those are the last words of the story and those are the words that will remain with students.  At least the previous report gave some hope by saying it “is not too late.”  Shelby Holliday is seen in the picture above with a “Civilization Collapse?” graphic.  This graphic is totally irresponsible.  So the graphic has a question mark at the end of “Civilization Collapse” but Ms. Holliday’s actual words all but remove the question mark and replace it with a period.

Let’s hope that the dwindling audience for Channel One wasn’t paying attention to Channel One reporter Scott Evans when he gave the erroneous story on March 18 or Ms. Holliday when she gave the corrected story on March 28.  What if a young person already feeling depressed about something, heard one of these two reporters saying there is a good chance of the world – as we know it – ending shortly after the student graduates from college or gets out of the military?  Why plan to get married and start a family?  Why continue to live when everything is going to collapse so soon?  

Hey, Scott.  Hey, Shelby.  Hey, CJ.  Do you think you could have endangered students with these two reckless reports?  Could you possibly anticipate a child taking their life because their favorite TV show (the one they are forced to watch each day while at school) told them civilization could end within 20 years?  15 years?  Did you think about these things and dismissed them? or did you fail to think about them because… well, you aren’t paid to think about things like this?

Channel One is tone deaf when it comes to their young audience.  You just don’t scream out “Civilization is coming to an end!” to a group of schoolchildren – some no more than 10-years-old.. You don’t do this especially when, as we have seen, Channel One employees don’t do fact checking exceptionally well. 

I’m not a journalist and neither are the people at Channel One News (it’s a youth marketing firm – don’t let the word “news” throw you off).  However, even I knew there was something wrong with this story when I first saw it on Channel One News.  It didn’t sound right.  “NASA says civilization will end in a few decades!”?  Really?  

I don’t expect much from the people at Channel One, but I did expect more from Tom Hanson.  Remember the Channel One reporter who came from CNN.  That’s right.  He was an associate producer at CNN who left to come to Channel One News.  (Don’t think about that too long, you could hurt yourself.)  Hanson should have at least suggested to his fellow Channel One employees , who don’t have the news background he has, that the story didn’t sound right.  He could have cautioned against “cutting and pasting” this story from other media outlets.  He could have suggested someone call NASA to confirm this truly terrifying story.  He could have suggested that even if this story was true, Channel One should not present this very scary study to schoolchildren.

Alas, Tom Hanson and the rest of the Channel One News employees are at Channel One for a reason.

And each one of them knows what his or her reason is.

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