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Virtual vs. Fact: Orson Welles and the War of the Worlds

Are Americans as Vulnerable Today as in 1938?

Orson Welles
Cover of Orson Welles
A discussion in my media class about the validity of the news today reminds me of an old 1938  radio prank gone wrong last century by film director Orson Welles: War of the Worlds. In essence, Welles reported a real Martian attack on the radio. 


People listening that did not catch that it was fake and panicked: http://www.transparencynow.com/welles.htm

"As it listened to this simulation of a news broadcast, created with voice acting and sound effects, a portion of the audience concluded that it was hearing an actual news account of an invasion from Mars. People packed the roads, hid in cellars, loaded guns, even wrapped their heads in wet towels as protection from Martian poison gas, in an attempt to defend themselves against aliens, oblivious to the fact that they were acting out the role of the panic-stricken public that actually belonged in a radio play. Not unlike Stanislaw Lem's deluded populace, people were stuck in a kind of virtual world in which fiction was confused for fact."

You can listen/download the original broadcast here: https://archive.org/details/OrsonWellesMrBruns

Do you think that this type of broadcast, maybe through some other sort of media, would have the same reaction today? And what does this say about American vulnerability? WMDs anyone?


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Comments

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Thanks so much :)
Ghost

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB1jUfehOks
Anonymous said…
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we are called Collective Unconscious

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgW-fWq-xoOHTgd5cneKl4g/videos
Music Maven said…
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