Mass panic created by War of the Worlds? Only in the minds of newspaper editors
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 |
Orson Welles in 1942. (AP file photo)
It's the most notorious hour in the history of radio. Orson Welles's production of "War of the Worlds," broadcast seventy-five years ago tomorrow, was said to create mass hysteria across the US, as listeners tuned into a radio play and believed the story of a Martian invasion to be real.
But some scholars argue that the only mass hysteria created by "War of the Worlds" was the media frenzy that followed a largely unremarkable -- and un-listened-to -- broadcast.
Michael Socolow is one of them. He teaches journalism and communications at the University of Maine. And he says the "mass panic" storyline was concocted by newspapers - who saw it as a way to attack the credibility of radio as a journalistic medium. Listen to his interview with Carol here: