Big Picture Science Show | 10-21-13 Seth Shostak, Molly Bentley
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.