Headlines and Bulletins
You may have heard this story before or read about it in a history
book at school.
It was 8:00pm, Sunday, October 30th 1938. The world as we knew it
was coming to an end. Years before the rover landed on its
surface, strange activities were observed on the planet Mars. Large
spurts of gases were being discharged from its surface. Then the
Martians landed near Grove Mill, New Jersey. An unstoppable heat ray
was terminating local residents. The first human causality was Carl
Phillips, a local news reporter. The United States responded with
extreme force. The best bombers in existence were deployed and sent to
New Jersey. Unbelievably, all of the bombers were destroyed in the
altercation. There was no way to stop the takeover; it appeared as
though every person on earth would perish in the horrible take-over.
One by one the ruthless Martians overtook the citizens of the New
Then it ended as soon as it began. For unknown reasons the Martians
started to die. One by one they were all found dead. There was a swift
cover-up put in place by the federal government to end the horrible
ordeal. Soon the mayhem and uncertainty ended allowing people to
slowly forgot the unbelievable mishap.
The events told above never happened; although, many people believed
they did. The story “The War of the Worlds” rewritten by Howard Koch
was broadcast on Sunday October 30th, 1938. It was broadcast over radio
and caused nation-wide havoc. Later it was estimated that 6,000,000
people listened to the broadcast and 1,200,000 people believed the
event was true.
People have an innate trust in the news media. News broadcasters on
radio or television and writers of newspaper and magazines articles
are very believable. Most of us do not have the time to investigate
each newsworthy event in detail, so we have a trust in the story the
reporter is telling us. Using multiple sources can make a story more
creditable. The panic could have been prevented in 1938 if the people
would have turned the dial to another radio station.
We will always rely on the media to keep us connected to the nation
and the world. But we must use sound judgment and follow up on a story
of interest before we believe everything we see, read or hear. Through
print, monologue and video South Dakotans experience events across
town and 1000s of miles away.
We experience fantastic events like the release of an endangered
species into the wild or when a lost child is found. We also
experience horrible events like 911 when Americans were targeted by
terrorists or the Tsunami of 2004 that devastated parts of Asia.
Unfortunately, staying connected to the world means experiencing the
horrible events as well as the happy ones.