Subscribe to the IHARE Blog

State of American History, Civics, and Politics

Alien Invasions: Orson Welles and Sean Hannity

Fake News in 1938 (https://www.goodreads.com/)

The aliens are coming. The aliens are coming. The aliens are here!

Perhaps the greatest alien invasion of the United States occurred on October 30, 1938. While December 7 and 9/11 still are remembered by Americans (aren’t they?), this earlier invasion is often overlooked or forgotten.

This invasion occurred before television, before cell phones, before the internet, at a time when radio was the one way to reach a national audience at once. It is easy to overlook the significance of this phenomenon in American history. Everyone in the country might watch the same movie but it took weeks for it travel from town to town. Its opening in each theater was a big event. Movies did not open nationwide, it was radio which provided the venue through which one voice could reach out to a nation.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had availed himself of this new technology to communicate with the American people. His fireside chats helped Americans to face the darkest days of the depression with the positive message that there was nothing to fear but fear itself. Normally, this powerful means of communication was used for entertainment, music, comedy, and stories of the Shadow with Orson Welles. They now could be experienced by millions simultaneously. There were other possibilities as well.

On Sunday, October 30, at 8 p.m. a voice announced: “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.” As Ed Sullivan and the NFL later learned as well, Sunday night was a good time to reach out and touch the American public. And what followed was part entertainment and part an interplanetary Superbowl.

Following this introductory announcement, the show proceeded as a normal show. Suddenly there was “BREAKING NEWS.” The news in this case was the astronomical observation of explosions on Mars. The station then resumed its normal programming with dance music. Suddenly there was another “BREAKING NEWS.” This time it was the report of a meteorite striking in New Jersey. Shortly afterwards an on-the-scene reporter described a terrifying scene to the radio audience. The meteorite turned out to be a rocket ship and the invasion from Mars had begun.

As the radio show continued, reports of more and more landings occurred. Skillful radio announcers convincingly described the growing invasion. Truly it was a national emergency crisis. The announcers with great emotion reported on the terrified humans fleeing in panic from the alien invaders. There are debates over how many people heard the report of the invasion. People had alternative radio stations to which to listen. Nonetheless, it is evident that significant numbers of people did listen and did panic.  People did flee. People did clog some roads. One person apparently ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, “New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!”

It should be noted that there is a long tradition in America of people believing the world is coming to an end. Usually such predictions have to do with the return of Jesus. It was almost a century earlier when the first “Great Disappointment” occurred. Now it looked like the cosmic intervention had occurred and in a way that no one had anticipated – an alien invasion.

The idea that the program was intended as entertainment and not a hoax makes some sense. After all, the introduction announced that the show was a dramatization of War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. But even if not planned as a hoax and even if the listeners had been informed in advance about the nature of the show, it still demonstrated the power of the new mass communication technology to engender fear and panic among its listeners.

Consider these examples last June when the United States government began to separate children from parents at the southern border. Laura Ingram reported that the children were being held in what could best be defined as “essentially summer camps.” It should be noted that four year olds separated from mothers to go to summer camps (or school) have been known to cry and be distressed.  She went on to accuse liberals of weaponizing these supposed separated children, a tactic the Trump Propaganda Network (TPN) would never employ.

Ann Coulter, in her typically deft, delicate, and sensitive style, appearing on TPN, denied that children had even been separated from their parents. They were child actors who had been coached by liberals. The crying was part of the scripts they had been given and not genuine emotions. She looked “directly” at President Trump through the camera and implored him not to be deceived by this act. Six months later, she similarly implored President Trump to grow a pair and not succumb to the temptation to enter into a budget agreement with no funding for the wall. Apparently the children are now real and not actors.

If one were to watch the TPN, one would realistically conclude that indeed the United States is experiencing a real invasion. Even as I am writing this post, the United States is being overwhelmed with terrorists, criminals, and drug dealers at the southern border…and normal people too who will be enrolled as Democrats and taught how to vote multiple times in exchange for safe passage. Perhaps never in the history of the United States has it faced such a massive and sustained invasion as is occurring right now. The “day of infamy” and 9/11 were one-time actions against the country while the alien invasion on the southern border is ongoing.

Just as with Orson Welles’ invasion story so many people believe Sean Hannity’s invasion story. With Welles, one might say all a listener needed to do was to change the channel to learn that the alien invasion was not real. Theoretically, the same applies for listeners to TPN. That comparison is false. The listeners in 1938 did not tune in with any preconceived ideas about an alien invasion in the first place. It was not on their radar. By contrast, the viewers of TPN today already know that the invasion is occurring. What they are saying is that thank God, our Lord and Savior is finally doing something to stop the alien invasion.

Alternate facts now trump real facts. The alternate reality now prevails over the real world. To present the TPN audience with the facts about the alien invasion is a lost cause. The fact that illegal drugs arrive through legal ports of entry and not through the barren wasteland is meaningless. The fact that terrorists are stopped in airports usually overseas and never arrive in the United States and that none have been caught at the southern border is meaningless. The fact that students and tourists here legally then overstay their visa is meaningless. The fact that people seeking asylum then disappear while waiting for the court case to be decided is the one fact they might accept. In general, their minds are already made up.

The Democrats, especially the Politically Correct, deserve a great deal of credit for forcing the current shutdown. All their hard work to terrorize white Americans into thinking they are and deserve to lose their country are now paying off. For more than a decade, Democrats have been touting the demographic deluge. There will be an ever increasing number and percentage of brown people in the country who eventually will seize control from the sexist, racist, homophobic, imperialist, polluting heterosexual white people. Truly they may be said to have done a fabulous job of delivering the message that the days of white people running this country are over, that all their heroes are bogus, and that a new world order run by the Thought Police has arrived. In the 2008 presidential election, the Republican Vice President candidate exclaimed that we Republicans are taking back our country. In the 2016 presidential election, the Republican presidential candidate seemed like the last hope to stem the tide of brown people from overwhelming the country.  The 2018 congressional election may seem like that first meteorite that landed in New Jersey in the dramatization of War of the Worlds: the alien invasion is now. The wall then has become the proverbial line in the sand, all that prevents the United States from succumbing to the alien takeover.

Kudos to the Democrats and the Politically Correct. You have been far more successful than Orson Welles in convincing millions of Americans that the alien invasion is upon us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.