Many Americans could not fathom that some people heard War of the Worlds and actually believed that Martians had landed in New Jersey. Over 12,000 articles were published about War of the Worlds in the two weeks following the broadcast. Time and again, editorial pages blamed the listener. To journalist Dorothy Thompson, who applauded Welles in her widely-read column, the episode cleverly proved the power of propaganda. Watch this video to hear what she wrote in her column.
“War of the Worlds” premieres October 29 at 9pm ET on PBS.