Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: War of the Worlds
It was the most famous invasion that never happened. But Orson Welles’ 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast sure sounded convincing as it used news bulletins and eyewitness accounts to describe an existential Martian attack. The public panicked. Or did it? New research says that claims of mass hysteria were overblown.
On the 75th anniversary of the broadcast: How the media manufactured descriptions of a fearful public and why – with our continued fondness for conspiracies – we could be hoodwinked again
Plus, journalism ethics in the age of social media. Can we tweet “Mars is attacking!” with impunity?
And why we’re obsessed with the Red Planet.
- Michael Socolow – Associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine
- Jesse Walker – Senior editor at Reason Magazine and author of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory
- Katy Culver – Assistant professor at the school of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Kevin Schindler – Outreach manager at the Lowell Observatory
You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.