Friday, July 23, 2010

Presenting THE WAR OF THE WORLDS on the Mercury Radio Theater a division of News Corp

“Ladies and gentlemen, I have just been handed a message that came in from Grovers Mill by telephone. Just a moment. At least forty people, including six state troopers lie dead in a field east of the village of Grovers Mill, their bodies burned and distorted beyond all possible recognition. The next voice you hear will be that of Brigadier General Montgomery Smith, commander of the state militia at Trenton, New Jersey.”

This was the 8:00 PM “news” on October 30, 1938 as broadcast by CBS radio, of course it wasn’t news and nobody who listened to the radio play thought that it was. This didn’t stop William Randolph Hearst who was the Rupert Murdock of his day from plastering headlines on his newspapers about the panic that never happened. Researchers have never been able to find a single reference on the police blotters to any of the horrifying events spawned by the panic that Hearst reported as irrefutable fact.

Today we have elements of media that again operate the same way Hearst did in 1938. Hearst had large chain of newspapers that specialized in sensational stories (often simply made up) that were not intended to inform but to mold his followers to his political advantage. Everything from the Spanish American War to Reefer Madness was created by the yellow journalism of Hearst and other newspapers would repeat his “news” without question if it sounded good. It has even become “history” that is rarely questioned because it sounds good.

The accusations of reverse racism by FOX News against Shirley Sherrod were treated as fact in much the same way. They had the tape after all, just as Hearst had the “proof” on Orson Welles by his own broadcast. He had the pictures of the USS Maine sunk in Havana harbor (the result of the negligent storage of gunpowder in the heat, not sabotage and the Navy knew this) and everybody came to know what reefer madness would do to black men thanks to the “science” provided by Hearst. No matter that it was all lies designed to further Hearst’s ambitions.

So we have come full circle. The media is again in the hands of billionaires who have caused another Great Depression and they don’t want anything done about it. Hearst had seized the opportunity to de-legitimize the new medium of radio that FDR was using effectively to put forward the New Deal. FDR wasn’t shy about calling out the “economic royalists” like Hearst while the newspapers called FDR a communist and worse for helping the common man.

For all the lasting damage that Hearst did, in the end Orson Welles got the last laugh on Hearst with the movie Citizen Kane and FDR gave us fifty years of prosperity. But the lessons learned have worked well for Rupert Murdock who really does use his radio players to create the “news”. “We take you now to Grovers Mill, New Jersey and our correspondent Glenn Beck….”


Ed Encho said...

Outstanding post!! Love your work man, sorry I haven't been by in awhile because this is one of the great underrated blogs out there. When I can listen to Malloy he reads them (BTW -kudos to Mike for FINALLY starting to recognize that violence is the only way to deal with these fascist freaks)but I absolutely am one of your biggest fans.

Keep it up, OBushma is no FDR but Murdoch is a thousand times the pig that Hearst was only politically connected thanks to his deal with the devil (Newton Gingrich) to get FOX on the air.

I always used to pinpoint the decline of Western Civilization with the rise of Reagan but now I am increasingly starting to think that it was when FOX landed the rights to televise NFL games which legitimized this high tech Goebbels clone.

Keep up the great work.