So here is a follow up posting regarding Discovery's Shark Week and attitudes towards sharks in general. In today's Los Angeles Times there is an editorial from write Joe Queenan titled "I Hate Sharks" - can't get more direct than that.
Joe's position is that, even though he realizes the political correctness in recognizing the endangered status of sharks, he still can't get over the impact they have on him as the voracious man-eaters portrayed for centuries. In all fairness, much of his position is satirical. He humorously goes through a laundry list of potential substitutes to dread - from vultures to hyenas to anacondas, and more.
"I only hope that if a shark ever does eat me, he does so because he detects that I am a shark-loathing reactionary and deserve to die. I'd hate to get eaten just because some shark mistook me for a seal."
It's a humorous read but it does touch on some real points: for many there is a deep-seated, almost primal fear of ocean predators (undersea and therefore unseen). And it is those fundamental feelings that much of today's shark programming taps into, despite whatever mantle of pseudo-science it might wrap itself in. Are you there to see the car races - or the car crashes? You decide.