Today is National Radio Day. While many people subscribe to satellite radio today, old school radio seems like an outdated medium. However, the invention of radio allowed the masses to receive entertainment and news conveniently. Seeing posts about National Radio Day brought to mind the War of the Worlds broadcast that supposedly caused mass panic throughout the United States. We all know the story. However, it seems that even then we were victims of fake news. In fact, it seems that newspapers spread the rumor that millions were panicked by the news of an alien invasion, but this was not the case. Refer to this article Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds for more information.
Today, we see many people falling for fake news and some panic over some of the most inane articles and stories. They are quickly spread over the radio, on tv, and on social media. Celebrities’ deaths are reported and spread by TMZ and Facebook while the person who allegedly died lounges in their enormous pool, unaware of their untimely demise. Furthermore, we see stories from both sides of the fence that may have some element of truth that has been so exaggerated that it is laughable. The point of all of this is that far too many people take their information at face value, regardless of its source. People watch a single channel or listen to a single station and accept what they hear as the absolute truth. Our problem is not necessarily with fake news, but with people who have not learned to wisely seek the truth. We must be willing to admit that our favorite pundit or celebrity may not hold the answers and we must seek the answers for ourselves. There are many avenues for finding accurate information out there, but it takes some work on our part. So the next time you hear a story, read an article, or watch a news show, please remember the War of the Worlds and realize that someone may be trying to inflate panic for ratings rather than communicate the truth.
I wish you a happy National Radio Day and must say that I miss hearing Paul Harvey on the radio.
I recently completed my PhD in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) at the University of Wyoming. I have published multiple articles in peer reviewed journals and have a book chapter coming early next year. I aim to explore issues of privilege and equity of education, especially as they pertain to STEM education.