FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War of the Words

by MICKEY Z.

“In a Knight Ridder poll, 44 percent of Americans reported that either ‘most’ or ‘some’ of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. The answer is zero.” (Christian Science Monitor, March 13, 2003)

October 30 marks 65 years since a 23-year-old Orson Welles set off a nationwide panic over a fictional Martian invasion. The Sunday evening radio show began with this announcement: “The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the air in ‘War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells.” But who listens to such details? What the public did focus on was “Professor Farrell of the Mount Jenning Observatory” talking about explosions detected on the planet Mars followed by reports of a large “meteor” crashing into a farmer’s field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey.

—- Fifty-one percent of Americans believe it very likely that Saddam Hussein has provided assistance to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network. (September 2003) —-

Gathered rapt around their radios, Americans learned a Martian had emerged from a large metallic cylinder at the New Jersey crash site. “Good heavens,” the actor/reporter declared, “something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here’s another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me…I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather. But that face, it…it…ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it; it’s so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.”

The broadcast continued as Martians mounted walking war machines, fired “heat-ray” weapons, sprayed poisonous black gas, and quickly disposed of 7,000 National Guardsman. By the time it was reported that similar Martian cylinders landed in Chicago and St. Louis, the panic had begun.

—- Thirty-four percent of Americans said they believed that the US had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (June 2003) —-

According to the Museum of Hoaxes website, “Some people loaded blankets and supplies in their cars and prepared to flee the Martian invaders. One mother in New England reportedly packed her babies and lots of bread into a car, figuring that ‘if everything is burning, you can’t eat money, but you can eat bread.’ Other people hid in cellars, hoping that the poisonous gas would blow over them. One college senior drove forty-five miles at breakneck speed in a valiant attempt to save his girlfriend.”

An Indianapolis woman ran into a church screaming, “New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!”

—- Sixty-nine percent of Americans said it was likely that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. (September 2003) —-

Dorothy Thompson wrote about “The War of the Worlds” broadcast in the New York Tribune: “All unwittingly, Mr. Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater of the Air have made one of the most fascinating and important demonstrations of all time. They have proved that a few effective voices, accompanied by sound effects, can convince masses of people of a totally unreasonable, completely fantastic proposition as to create a nation-wide panic. They have demonstrated more potently than any argument, demonstrated beyond a question of a doubt, the appalling dangers and enormous effectiveness of popular and theatrical demagoguery.”

MICKEY Z. is the author of Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of “The Good War”. He can be reached at mzx2@earthlink.net.

 

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.  

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinness: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
David Welsh
Bay Area Rallies Against Trump’s Muslim Ban II
March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail