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A retired NASA manager is suing the Discovery Channel for its false portrayal of his action in connection with the Challenger shuttle accident.

Fake but accurate: A retired NASA manager is suing the Discovery Channel for its false portrayal of him in a movie about the Challenger shuttle accident.

The suit says that in the movie’s crucial scene Lovingood is shown testifying falsely that the odds of a shuttle failure were much higher than other NASA engineers calculated. … “The clear statement and depiction was that Lovingood lied about the probability of total failure being 1 in 100,000 when NASA’s own engineers said it was 1 in 200,” the lawsuit says. “This movie scene never took place in real life at any hearing. (Lovingood) was never asked to give any testimony as depicted and he did not give testimony to the question shown in the movie in this made up scene.”

“It makes it look like (NASA leadership) ignored a highly risky situation” in deciding to launch Challenger that day, Lovingood’s attorney Steven Heninger of Birmingham said Friday. Heninger said the movie was the network’s “first attempt at a scripted program … and they took shortcuts because they were writing for drama.” The testimony in the movie was not in the investigation commission’s records or Feynman’s book “What Do You Care What Other People Think?,” both of which were sources for the film, the suit claims.

Though NASA management did consistently claim the shuttle was safer than it actually was, to falsely portray this specific individual as the person who said those lies when he did not is without doubt slander. I hope he wins big.

This is, by the way, a nice example of typical media arrogance. If you are going to fictionalize real events for dramatic purposes, you don’t use the names of real people and put words in their mouth when you do so. It leaves you very vulnerable legally to exactly this kind of lawsuit. That the Discovery Channel did so is good evidence they think they are above the law and do not have to care if they destroy people’s lives.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

One comment

  • mpthompson

    I saw the movie. Even though I’m huge fan of Professor Feynman and his books, I was very disappointed in the movie. With the cast they had, it should have been much, much better. This episode just adds injury to insult.

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