06 May 2015

There was no "War of the Worlds panic"


Excerpts from an myth-busting report in The Telegraph:
According to popular myth, thousands of New Yorkers fled their homes in panic, with swarms of terrified citizens crowding the streets in different American cities to catch a glimpse of a “real space battle”... The true extent of the panic seems to have been that a small band of Grover's Mill locals, believing the town's water tower on Grover's Mill Road had been turned into a “giant Martian war machine”, fired guns filled with buckshot in an attack on the water tower...

The radio ratings survey firm CE Hopper Company were, coincidentally, conducting a telephone poll that night of approximately five thousand households. They asked: "To what programme are you listening?” Only two per cent of people said they were listening to The War of the Worlds...

Research published six weeks after the broadcast by the American Institute of Public Opinion was skewed. They later admitted that figures of one million people listening to the programme were wildly inaccurate...

The newspapers had a clear agenda. An editorial in The New York Times, headlined In the Terror by Radio, was used to censure the relatively new medium of radio, which was becoming a serious competitor in providing news and advertising...

In Getting it Wrong, Professor Campbell said that Welles was happy in later decades to encourage the myth of the panic because it was a "tale just too delectable not to be true".

1 comment:

  1. I shocked! What's next? Climate change is real?

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...