An earlier application of the Hyperdermic Needle model was illustrated in 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre group broadcast a radio version of H.G.Wells ‘War of the Worlds’ on the day before Halloween. It contained a fake news bulletin, warning everybody that Martians had begun an invasion of Earth.
It changed broadcast history because out of the 12million US citizens who heard the broadcast about one million actually believed a terrifying alien invasion was approaching. Mass hysteria broke out, people were desperately seeking shelter in rural areas and raiding grocery story for food. The cause of the chaos was the broadcast. It became known as the ‘Panic Broadcast’ and set a standard for provocative entertainment. It implanted an idea directly into the minds of the public, creating a uniform thinking, (it is often described as injecting an idea into the public’s ‘bloodstream‘). It again shows the incredible power the mass media has and how gullible and easily manipulated the public are.