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Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles's War of the Worlds and the art of fake news by A. Brad Swartz

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

The broadcast is famous; or for some infamous. It was October 30th, 1938, the second world war was yet to break out, however, it is important to remember that fascism was on the rise in Europe, people also had a fear of 'reds under the beds' and had suspicions against many both within the public and private realm that they might indeed be communists. It was against this backdrop that an as yet unknown actor called Orson Welles and a small band of colleagues recorded their adaptation of H.G. Welles's War of the Worlds. Little did they know at the time that the recording would seem so realistic to some listeners that they thought the country was actually being invaded! Some believed it to be an actual invasion by aliens or in some minds, given the times, by another country.

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