Orson Welles 'War Of The Worlds'

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To Persuade, or To Manipulate, That is the Question.
Sociologist William Thomas proposed an idea, that would later be published in 1928 as the Thomas theorem. The theorem stated, “if men define situations as real, they are real in consequences.” This idea that consequences are real to those that have defined them as such help to define the outcome of Orson Welles’ radio broadcast “War of the Worlds.” Welles’ broadcast was aimed to entertain the listeners and allow them to see the plot of the story from his perspective and create a sense of realism behind the broadcast. While, Welles’ intention was never to manipulate his listeners and produce a widespread panic, that is exactly the effect that it had for his listeners. Welles’ was able to
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Was Welles’ aware of the consequences that would develop and was aiming to manipulate? Or was he just attempting to persuade the listener to connect with his broadcast from an entertainment perspective? Welles’ broadcast succeeded in engaging listeners to a perspective of actual reality that would provoke panic, worry, and confusion. The broadcast was completely fiction yet, through the broadcast Welles’ connected the listener to the broadcast itself and allowed them to become attached and fabricate their own rhetorical situation. Throughout the broadcast, Welles’ is able to create an authentic storyline that keeps the listener engaged and causes them to blend the events in the broadcast to their actually reality.The broadcast is able to catch the listeners attention with its interruption of the program for a “special bulletin. ” These interruptions create the panic in itself because an event, in the perspective of the listener, has now take severe importance. This event is also reinforced because the radio itself is the listeners only source of information. This notion of the one source of information for listeners, puts Welles’ and the broadcast in complete control over the listener. Throughout the broadcast, Welles continues to keep the listener in a state of suspense with the different breaking news scenes, the short interviews,…show more content…
To have a rhetorical situation these three components were necessary yet, in Welles’ broadcast they were absent. While these components appearance were actually in the broadcast, they were actually absent because of the fact that the broadcast was fiction. There was no real exigence of aliens landing, the listeners were not an actual audience because of the fact that there was no exigence to solve, and there was no real constraint holding them back from solving the exigence, since the exigence did not exist. But, while Welles’ broadcast was fiction, and lacked the components to be a rhetorical situation, it produced a situation that the listeners defined as real, and thus, real in their consequences. Welles' was able to create a rhetorical situation from a non rhetorical situation with his broadcast. The broadcast created suspense, and allowed the listener to become engaged with a fictional perspective and reimagine it as reality in their own mind. While it is safe to say that national panic was not Welles' ultimate goal, it is eye-opening to see that, through the creation of a rhetorical situation from fiction, one can manipulate people and provoke chaos on multiple levels, possibly even the global

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