Thursday, October 30, 2008

Famous hoaxes

Seventy years ago today Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre broadcast their adaptation of "The War of the Worlds" as a fake news broadcast. Welles' broadcast was so real sounding that Americans across the country believed it.

Last night Senator Barack Obama purchased air time on the major networks to air a 30-minute infomercial promising to provide a "middle class" tax cut for 95% of the people while launching new spending programs and only raising taxes on the remaining top 5% of taxpayers, all while saving the economy. Millions of Americans will believe it.

The irony is that 70 years ago we had nothing to fear but our imaginations and the convincing words of a great script reader on the radio. Today we should be fearing the great script reader on television. I wonder how convincing he was last night?