Collection

The 'War of the Worlds' Panic, Revisited

Featured on Snopes today: Media historians question whether "War of the Worlds" caused "nationwide panic" in 1938, and viral tweet attributed to Trump calls for ban on "fake boos."

Published Oct 30, 2019

Orson Welles probably wasn’t looking to set off a nationwide panic with his Oct. 30, 1938, radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds,” based on the classic sci-fi novel about Martians invading Earth, but according to the press coverage of the time he did exactly that.

The next day, The New York Times reported that “thousands” believed the interplanetary conflict was real, and the broadcast “disrupted households, interrupted religious services, created traffic jams and clogged communications systems.”

In hindsight, media historians aren’t so sure that’s really how it went down, however. Snopes.com’s David Emery reports on recent scholarship suggesting that the so-called “nationwide panic” was overblown.

The Daily Debunker delivers top stories from Snopes.com to your inbox. Subscribe.

Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Man pouring woman's drink as she looks at the camera
Read More