Orson Wells & Manipulation

In November 1st On the Media, the commentators covered “The War of the Worlds” broadcast 75th year anniversary. In this broadcast, Wells crafted a sci-fi report-story in which aliens invaded the Earth, and many people believed the story as they tuned in. The commentators questioned the actual reality of the story, even in terms of rationality. “We see ourselves above the people from this time” they state. This brings forth a tangent on journalistic qualities themselves nowadays in the power of journalism and social media itself.

The commentators see the broadcast as a prime example of journalistic persuasion, for the manipulation of social media tools of the time. Orson Wells was not only famous for this broadcast in radio history. Wells is also a famous filmmaker, known for his black and white movies such as Citizen Kane and Shakespeare’s interpretation of “Othello”. Wells was known as a formalist filmmaker, meaning that he manipulated many forms of the film to portray a thematic idea unto the spectator. You’d only have to watch Citizen Kane to know Well’s fascinating interpretation of the American man. Wells also had knowledge in radio broadcasting, and knew the power that sound had in film as a manipulation of the spectator’s feelings and emotions. I believe that the radio broadcast was definitely a persuasive attempt, and as the commentators have supported, it was successful at some degree in its time.


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