Monday, February 27, 2012

The Power of the Media

In an age where we take the ubiquity of the media for granted (and also at a time when communication and social media is undergoing a revolution), it is easy to forget how powerful it actually is and how easily it can shape people's beliefs and understanding. This is not necessarily a new phenomenon. Famously, in 1938, Orson Welles broadcast his radio version of H.G. Wells' 'War of the Worlds'. Due to the way Welles framed his story in the form of a real-time news programme, a large proportion of his audience believed that the Earth was under attack from Martians and mass panic broke out (perhaps also related to escalating worries of the political situation in Europe prior to the outbreak of war). Here is the original broadcast split into 6 parts:

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6

I have summarised what happened during the broadcast below and how it made Orson Welles into a Hollywood star.

War of the Worlds

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