Socolow Cited in Telegraph Article on ‘War of the Worlds’ Panic Myth

The Telegraph cited an article by Michael Socolow, an associate professor in the Communication and Journalism Department at the University of Maine, in a report about the overblown reports of panic following Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds.” In 2013, Socolow and Jeff Pooley, an associate professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., co-wrote an article for Slate magazine about the reported mass hysteria. Pooley and Socolow argued newspapers created the hype in an attempt to discredit radio and win over advertisers. “How did the story of panicked listeners begin? Blame America’s newspapers,” the pair wrote. “Radio had siphoned off advertising revenue from print during the Depression, badly damaging the newspaper industry. So the papers seized the opportunity presented by Welles’ programme, perhaps to discredit radio as a source of news. The newspaper industry sensationalised the panic to prove to advertisers, and regulators, that radio management was irresponsible and not to be trusted.”