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Radio PsyOps: Television and the Hive Mind

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:17 am    Post subject: Radio PsyOps: Television and the Hive Mind Reply with quote

https://www.lovesportradio.com/radioplayer/od/items/409/

Television and the hive mind

old article - 2003? by Mack White

http://www.ar.utexas.edu/Staff/White/tv.html

Sixty-four years ago this month, six million Americans became unwitting subjects in an experiment in psychological warfare.

It was the night before Halloween, 1938. At 8 p.m. CST, the Mercury Radio on the Air began broadcasting Orson Welles' radio adaptation of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. As is now well known, the story was presented as if it were breaking news, with bulletins so realistic that an estimated one million people believed the world was actually under attack by Martians. Of that number, thousands succumbed to outright panic, not waiting to hear Welles' explanation at the end of the program that it had all been a Halloween prank, but fleeing into the night to escape the alien invaders.

Later, psychologist Hadley Cantril conducted a study of the effects of the broadcast and published his findings in a book, The Invasion from Mars: A Study in the Psychology of Panic. This study explored the power of broadcast media, particularly as it relates to the suggestibility of human beings under the influence of fear. Cantril was affiliated with Princeton University's Radio Research Project, which was funded in 1937 by the Rockefeller Foundation. Also affiliated with the Project was Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member and Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) executive Frank Stanton, whose network had broadcast the program. Stanton would later go on to head the news division of CBS, and in time would become president of the network, as well as chairman of the board of the RAND Corporation, the influential think tank which has done groundbreaking research on, among other things, mass brainwashing.

Two years later, with Rockefeller Foundation money, Cantril established the Office of Public Opinion Research (OPOR), also at Princeton. Among the studies conducted by the OPOR was an analysis of the effectiveness of "psycho-political operations" (propaganda, in plain English) of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Then, during World War II, Cantril and Rockefeller money assisted CFR member and CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow in setting up the Princeton Listening Centre, the purpose of which was to study Nazi radio propaganda with the object of applying Nazi techniques to OSS propaganda. Out of this project came a new government agency, the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS). The FBIS eventually became the United States Information Agency (USIA), which is the propaganda arm of the National Security Council.

Thus, by the end of the 1940s, the basic research had been done and the propaganda apparatus of the national security state had been set up--just in time for the Dawn of Television ...

Experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman reveal that, when a person watches television, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere is the seat of logical thought. Here, information is broken down into its component parts and critically analyzed. The right brain, however, treats incoming data uncritically, processing information in wholes, leading to emotional, rather than logical, responses. The shift from left to right brain activity also causes the release of endorphins, the body's own natural opiates--thus, it is possible to become physically addicted to watching television, a hypothesis borne out by numerous studies which have shown that very few people are able to kick the television habit.

This numbing of the brain's cognitive function is compounded by another shift which occurs in the brain when we watch television. Activity in the higher brain regions (such as the neo-cortex) is diminished, while activity in the lower brain regions (such as the limbic system) increases. The latter, commonly referred to as the reptile brain, is associated with more primitive mental functions, such as the "fight or flight" response. The reptile brain is unable to distinguish between reality and the simulated reality of television. To the reptile brain, if it looks real, it is real. Thus, though we know on a conscious level it is "only a film," on a conscious level we do not--the heart beats faster, for instance, while we watch a suspenseful scene. Similarly, we know the commercial is trying to manipulate us, but on an unconscious level the commercial nonetheless succeeds in, say, making us feel inadequate until we buy whatever thing is being advertised--and the effect is all the more powerful because it is unconscious, operating on the deepest level of human response. The reptile brain makes it possible for us to survive as biological beings, but it also leaves us vulnerable to the manipulations of television programmers.

It is not just commercials that manipulate us. On television news as well, image and sound are as carefully selected and edited to influence human thought and behaviour as in any commercial. The news anchors and reporters themselves are chosen for their physical attractiveness--a factor which, as numerous psychological studies have shown, contributes to our perception of a person's trustworthiness. Under these conditions, then, the viewer easily forgets--if, indeed, the viewer ever knew in the first place--that the worldview presented on the evening news is a contrivance of the network owners--owners such as General Electric (NBC) and Westinghouse (CBS), both major defence contractors. By molding our perception of the world, they mold our opinions. This distortion of reality is determined as much by what is left out of the evening news as what is included--as a glance at Project Censored's yearly list of top 25 censored news stories will reveal. If it's not on television, it never happened. Out of sight, out of mind.

Under the guise of journalistic objectivity, news programs subtly play on our emotions--chiefly fear. Network news divisions, for instance, frequently congratulate themselves on the great service they provide humanity by bringing such spectacles as the September 11 terror attacks into our living rooms. We have heard this falsehood so often, we have come to accept it as self-evident truth. However, the motivation for live coverage of traumatic news events is not altruistic, but rather to be found in the central focus of Cantril's War of the Worlds research--the manipulation of the public through fear.

There is another way in which we are manipulated by television news. Human beings are prone to model the behaviours they see around them, and avoid those which might invite ridicule or censure, and in the hypnotic state induced by television, this effect is particularly pronounced. For instance, a lift of the eyebrow from Peter Jennings tells us precisely what he is thinking--and by extension what we should think. In this way, opinions not sanctioned by the corporate media can be made to seem disreputable, while sanctioned opinions are made to seem the very essence of civilized thought. And should your thinking stray into unsanctioned territory despite the trusted anchor's example, a poll can be produced which shows that most persons do not think that way--and you don't want to be different do you? Thus, the mental wanderer is brought back into the fold.

This process is also at work in programs ostensibly produced for entertainment. The "logic" works like this: Archie Bunker is an idiot, Archie Bunker is against gun control, therefore idiots are against gun control. Never mind the complexities of the issue. Never mind the fact that the true purpose of the Second Amendment is not to protect the rights of deer hunters, but to protect the citizenry against a tyrannical government (an argument you will never hear voiced on any television program). Monkey see, monkey do--or, in this case, monkey not do.

Notice, too, the way in which television programs depict conspiracy researchers or anti-New World Order activists. On situation comedies, they are buffoons. On dramatic programs, they are dangerous fanatics. This imprints on the mind of the viewer the attitude that questioning the official line or holding "anti-government" opinions is crazy, therefore not to be emulated.

Another way in which entertainment programs mold opinion can be found in the occasional television movie, which "sensitively" deals with some "social" issue. A bad behaviour is spotlighted--"hate" crimes, for instance--in such a way that it appears to be a far more rampant problem than it may actually be, so terrible in fact that the "only" cure for it is more laws and government "protection." Never mind that laws may already exist to cover these crimes--the law against murder, for instance. Once we have seen the well-publicized murder of the young gay man Matthew Shepherd dramatized in not one, but two, television movies in all its heartrending horror, nothing will do but we pass a law making the very thought behind the crime illegal.

People will also model behaviours from popular entertainment which are not only dangerous to their health and could land them in jail, but also contribute to social chaos. While this may seem to be simply a matter of the producers giving the audience what it wants, or the artist holding a mirror up to society, it is in fact intended to influence behaviour.

Consider the way many films glorify drug abuse. When a popular star playing a sympathetic character in a mainstream R-rated film uses hard drugs with no apparent health or legal consequences (John Travolta's use of heroin in Pulp Fiction, for instance--an R-rated film produced for theatrical release, which now has found a permanent home on television, via cable and video players), a certain percentage of people--particularly the impressionable young--will perceive hard drug use as the epitome of anti-Establishment cool and will model that behaviour, contributing to an increase in drug abuse. And who benefits?

As has been well documented by Gary Webb in his award-winning series for the San Jose Mercury New, former Los Angeles narcotics detective Michael Ruppert, and many other researchers and whistleblowers--the CIA is the main purveyor of hard drugs in this country. The CIA also has its hand in the "prison-industrial complex." Wackenhut Corporation, the largest owner of private prisons, has on its board of directors many former CIA employees, and is very likely a CIA front. Thus, films which glorify drug abuse may be seen as recruitment ads for the slave labour-based private prison system. Also, the social chaos and inflated crime rate which result from the contrived drug problem contributes to the demand from a frightened society for more prisons, more laws, and the further erosion of civil liberties. This effect is further heightened by television news segments and documentaries which focus on drug abuse and other crimes, thus giving the public the misperception that crime is even higher than it really is.

There is another socially debilitating process at work in what passes for entertainment on television these days. Over the years, there has been a steady increase in adult subject matter on programs presented during family viewing hours. For instance, it is common for today's prime-time situation comedies to make jokes about such matters as masturbation (Seinfeld once devoted an entire episode to the topic), or for daytime talk shows such as Jerry Springer's to showcase such topics as bestiality. Even worse are the "reality" programs currently in vogue. Each new offering in this genre seems to hit a new low. MTV, for instance, recently subjected a couple to a Candid Camera-style prank in which, after winning a trip to Las Vegas, they entered their hotel room to find an actor made up as a mutilated corpse in the bathtub. Naturally, they were traumatized by the experience and sued the network. Or, consider a new show on British television in which contestants compete to see who can infect each other with the most diseases--venereal diseases included.

It would appear, at the very least, that these programs serve as a shill operation to strengthen the argument for censorship. There may also be an even darker motive. These programs contribute to the general coarsening of society we see all around us--the decline in manners and common human decency and the acceptance of cruelty for its own sake as a legitimate form of entertainment. Ultimately, this has the effect of debasing human beings into savages, brutes--the better to herd them into global slavery.

For the first decade or so after the Dawn of Television, there were only a handful of channels in each market--one for each of the three major networks and maybe one or two independents. Later, with the advent of cable and more channels, the population pie began to be sliced into finer pieces--or "niche markets." This development has often been described as representing a growing diversity of choices, but in reality it is a fine-tuning of the process of mass manipulation, a honing-in on particular segments of the population, not only to sell them specifically-targeted consumer products but to influence their thinking in ways advantageous to the globalist agenda.

One of these "target audiences" is that portion of the population which, after years of blatant government cover-up in areas such as UFOs and the assassination of John F. Kennedy, maintains a cynicism toward the official line, despite the best efforts of television programmers to depict conspiracy research in a negative light. How to reach this vast, disenfranchised target audience and co-opt their thinking? One way is to put documentaries before them which mix of fact with disinformation, thereby confusing them. Another is to take the X Files approach.

The heroes of X Files are investigators in a fictitious paranormal department of the FBI whose adventures sometimes take them into parapolitical territory. On the surface this sounds good. However, whatever good X Files might accomplish by touching on such matters as MK-ULTRA or the JFK assassination is cancelled out by associating them with bug-eyed aliens and ghosts. Also, on X Files, the truth is always depicted as "out there" somewhere--in the stars, or some other dimension, never in brainwashing centres such as the RAND Corporation or its London counterpart, the Tavistock Institute. This has the effect of obscuring the truth, making it seem impossibly out-of-reach, and associating reasonable lines of political inquiry with the fantastic and other-wordly.

Not that there is no connection between the parapolitical and the paranormal. There is undoubtedly a cover-up at work with regard to UFOs, but if we accept uncritically the notion that UFOs are anything other than terrestrial in origin, we are falling headfirst into a carefully-set trap. To its credit, X Files has dealt with the idea that extraterrestrials might be a clever hoax by the government, but never decisively. The labyrinthine plots of the show somehow manage to leave the viewer wondering if perhaps the hoax idea is itself a hoax put out there to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials. This is hardly helpful to a true understanding of UFOs and associated phenomena, such as alien abductions and cattle mutilations.

Extraterrestrials have been a staple of popular entertainment since The War of the Worlds (both the novel and its radio adaptation). They have been depicted as invaders and benefactors, but rarely have they been unequivocally depicted as a hoax. There was an episode of Outer Limits which depicted a group of scientists staging a mock alien invasion to frighten the world's population into uniting as one--but, again, such examples are rare. Even in UFO documentaries on the Discovery Channel, the possibility of a terrestrial origin for the phenomenon is conspicuous by its lack of mention.

UFO researcher Jacques Vallee, the real-life model for the French scientist in Stephen Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, attempted to interest Spielberg in a terrestrial explanation for the phenomenon. In an interview on Conspire.com, Vallee said, "I argued with him that the subject was even more interesting if it wasn't extraterrestrials. If it was real, physical, but not ET. So he said, 'You're probably right, but that's not what the public is expecting--this is Hollywood and I want to give people something that's close to what they expect.'"

How convenient that what Spielberg says the people expect is also what the Pentagon wants them to believe.

In Messengers of Deception, Vallee tracks the history of a wartime British Intelligence unit devoted to psychological operations. Code-named (interestingly) the "Martians," it specialized in manufacturing and distributing false intelligence to confuse the enemy. Among its activities were the creation of phantom armies with inflatable tanks, simulations of the sounds of military ships maneuvering in the fog, and forged letters to lovers from phantom soldiers attached to phantom regiments.

Vallee suggests that deception operations of this kind may have extended beyond World War II, and that much of the "evidence" for "flying saucers" is no more real than the inflatable tanks of World War II. He writes: "The close association of many UFO sightings with advanced military hardware (test sites like the New Mexico proving grounds, missile silos of the northern plains, naval construction sites like the major nuclear facility at Pascagoula and the bizarre love affairs ... between contactee groups, occult sects, and extremist political factions, are utterly clear signals that we must exercise extreme caution."

Many people find it fantastic that the government would perpetrate such a hoax, while at the same time having no difficulty entertaining the notion that extraterrestrials are regularly travelling light years to this planet to kidnap people out of their beds and subject them to anal probes.

The military routinely puts out disinformation to obscure its activities, and this has certainly been the case with UFOs. Consider Paul Bennewitz, the UFO enthusiast who began studying strange lights that would appear nightly over the Manzano Test Range outside Albuquerque. When the Air Force learned about his study, ufologist William Moore (by his own admission) was recruited to feed him forged military documents describing a threat from extraterrestrials. The effect was to confuse Bennewitz--even making him paranoid enough to be hospitalized--and discredit his research. Evidently, those strange lights belonged to the Air Force, which does not like outsiders inquiring into its affairs.

What the Air Force did to Bennewitz, it also does on a mass scale--and popular entertainment has been complicit in this process. Whether or not the filmmakers themselves are consciously aware of this agenda does not matter. The notion that extraterrestrials might visit this planet is so much a part of popular culture and modern mythology that it hardly needs assistance from the military to propagate itself.

It has the effect not only of obscuring what is really going on at research facilities such as Area 51, but of tainting UFO research in general as "kooky"--and does the job so thoroughly that one need only say "UFO" in the same breath with "JFK" to discredit research in that area as well. It also may, in the end, serve the same purpose as depicted in that Outer Limits episode--to unite the world's population against a perceived common threat, thus offering the pretext for one-world government.

The following quotes demonstrate that the idea has at least occurred to world leaders:

"In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us realize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world." (President Ronald Reagan, speaking in 1987 to the United Nations.

"The nations of the world will have to unite, for the next war will be an interplanetary war. The nations of the earth must someday make a common front against attack by people from other planets." General Douglas MacArthur, 1955)

Some one remarked that the best way to unite all the nations on this globe would be an attack from some other planet. In the face of such an alien enemy, people would respond with a sense of their unity of interest and purpose." (John Dewey, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, speaking at a conference sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1917)

And where was this "alien threat" motif given birth? Again, we find the answer in popular entertainment, and again the earliest source is The War of the Worlds--both Wells' and Welles' versions.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that H. G. Wells was a founding member of the Round Table, the think tank that gave birth to the Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA) and its American cousin, the CFR. Perhaps Wells intentionally introduced the motif as a meme which might prove useful later in establishing the "world social democracy" he described in his 1939 book The New World Order. Perhaps, too, another purpose of the Orson Welles broadcast was to test of the public's willingness to believe in extraterrestrials.

At any rate, it proved a popular motif, and paved the way for countless movies and television programs to come, and has often proven a handy device for promoting the New World Order, whether the extraterrestrials are invaders or--in films like The Day the Earth Stood Still--benefactors who have come to Earth to warn us to mend our ways and unite as one, or be blown to bits.

We see the globalist agenda at work in Star Trek and its spin-offs as well. Over the years, many a television viewer's mind has been imprinted with the idea that centralized government is the solution for our problems. Never mind the complexities of the issue--never mind the fact that, in the real world, centralization of power leads to tyranny. The reptile brain, hypnotized by the flickering television screen, has seen Captain Kirk and his culturally diverse crew demonstrate time and again that the United Federation of Planets is a good thing. Therefore, it must be so.

It remains to be seen whether the Masters of Deception will, like those scientists in The Outer Limits, stage an invasion from space with anti-gravity machines and holograms, but, if they do, it will surely be broadcast on television, so that anyone out of range of that light show in the sky, will be able to see it, and all with eyes to see will believe. It will be War of the Worlds on a grand scale.


Jack Kerouac once noted, while walking down a residential street at night, glancing into living rooms lit by the gray glare of television sets, that we have become a world of people "thinking the same thoughts at the same time."

Every day, millions upon millions of human beings sit down at the same time to watch the same football game, the same mini-series, the same newscast. And where might all this shared experience and uniformity of thought be taking us?

A recent report co-sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Commerce Department calls for a broad-based research program to find ways to use nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive sciences, to achieve telepathy, machine-to-human communication, amplified sensory experience, enhanced intellectual capacity, and mass participation in a "hive mind." Quoting the report: "With knowledge no longer encapsulated in individuals, the distinction between individuals and the entirety of humanity would blur. Think Vulcan mind-meld. We would perhaps become more of a hive mind--an enormous, single, intelligent entity."

There is no doubt that we have been brought closer to the "hive mind" by the mass media. For, what is the shared experience of television but a type of "Vulcan mind-meld"? (Note the terminology borrowed from Star Trek, no doubt to make the concept more familiar and palatable. If Spock does it, it must be okay.)

This government report would have us believe that the hive mind will be for our good--a wonderful leap in evolution. It is nothing of the kind. For one thing, if the government is behind it, you may rest assured it is not for our good. For another, common sense should tell us that blurring the line "between individuals and the entirety of humanity" means mass conformity, the death of human individuality. Make no mistake about it--if humanity is to become a hive, there will be at the centre of that hive a Queen Bee, whom all the lesser "insects" will serve. This is not evolution--this is devolution. Worse, it is the ultimate slavery--the slavery of the mind.

And it is a horror first unleashed in 1938 when one million people responded as one--as a hive--to Orson Welles' Halloween prank.

In a sense, those people who fled the Martians that night were right to be afraid. They were indeed under attack. But they were wrong about who was attacking them. It was something far worse than Martians. Had they only known the true nature of the danger facing them, perhaps they would have gone to the nearest radio station with torches in hand like the villagers in those old Frankenstein movies and burned it to the ground, or at least commandeered the new technology and turned it towards another use--the liberation of humanity, instead of its enslavement.

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http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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Last edited by TonyGosling on Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject: January 1926 BBC Radio revolution hoax Reply with quote

January 1926 BBC Radio revolution hoax
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Knox#Radio_hoax
In January 1926, for one of his regular BBC Radio programmes, Ronald Knox broadcast a pretended live report of revolution sweeping across London entitled Broadcasting from the Barricades. In addition to live reports of persons, including a government minister being lynched, his broadcast cleverly mixed supposed band music from the Savoy Hotel with the hotel's purported destruction by trench mortars. The Houses of Parliament and the clock tower were also said to have been flattened.
Because the broadcast occurred on a snowy weekend, much of the United Kingdom was unable to get the newspapers until days later - the lack of newspapers caused a minor panic, as it was believed that this was caused by the events in London.
A 2005 BBC report on the broadcast suggests that the innovative style of Knox's programme may have influenced Orson Welles' radio broadcast War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938 and foreshadowed it in its consequences. The script of the broadcast is reprinted in Essays in Satire (1928).




Show That Sparked A Riot
by Raymond Snoddy presenter, NewsWatch
NewsWatch on News 24 exists to take up audience complaints about BBC news and current affairs and to explain why BBC executives take the decisions they do.
Yet many of the modern-day issues investigated by the programme seem tame compared to the row that broke out after the BBC transmitted a most unusual programme - Broadcasting The Barricades - on 16 January 1926, in the very early days of radio.
How the broadcast was reported
In the broadcast - itself now the subject of a new BBC programme - the BBC interrupted an academic lecture from Oxford to announce that rioters were gathering in Trafalgar Square.
Then in a series of progressively dramatic announcements, complete with sound effects, the BBC reported that the transport minister had been hanged from a lamppost, the Savoy Hotel destroyed and Big Ben blown up.
Coming months before the General Strike - and amid fears of a Communist takeover, fanned by newspapers such as the Daily Mail - the effect of the broadcast was electric.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_4080000/newsid_4081000/ 4081060.stm

Holy terror: The first great radio hoax
http://www.planetslade.com/ronald-knox1.html

“Unemployed demonstration in London. The crowd has now passed along Whitehall and, at the suggestion of Mr Popplebury, Secretary of the National Movement for Abolishing Theatre Queues, is preparing to demolish the Houses of Parliament with trench mortars. [...] The clock tower, 320 feet in height, has just fallen to the ground, together with the famous clock Big Ben, which used to strike the hours on a bell weighing nine tons.”
- Ronald Knox, Broadcasting the Barricades, January 16, 1926.

“Hundreds of people rang up amazed newspaper offices, asking for details and saying they had heard it from the BBC. In the West of England, rumours were still going round yesterday morning and anxious enquiries were made of the police as to the truth of the report.”
- Daily Mirror, January 18, 1926.

The first reports came through just after 7:40 on Saturday evening. Listeners to the BBC's fledgling radio service heard the closing words of a talk on Gray's Elegy, then a plummy announcer's voice breaking in with news that an unemployment demonstration in Trafalgar Square had turned violent. The angry demonstrators were already sacking the National Gallery, he said, and they weren't finished yet.
It was January 16, 1926, and many listeners must been half-expecting news like this to break any day. Russia's 1917 revolution had left Britain's establishment nervous about proletarian revolt, the First World War had undermined all notions of working class deference and the Labour Party had just adopted Clause IV's call for common ownership. The first half of the 1920s saw the formation of the British Communist Party, two miners' strikes paving the way for a General Strike to come, and the election of the country's first Labour Government.
“There were great worries that deference was on the wane,” explains Joanna Bourke, author of Fear: A Cultural History. “And that poor people, the unemployed, were not going to put up with being poor any more.”
After a few minutes of live music from the Savoy Hotel's house band, the announcer broke in again. “The unemployed demonstration,” he began. “The crowd is now pouring through the Admiralty Arch, and is advancing towards the back of the Government buildings in Whitehall in a threatening manner.” (1)
The crowd had reached the Houses of Parliament, and was preparing to fire trench mortars
There followed some reports of demonstrators throwing empty bottles at the ducks in St James's Park, and then a shuffling of papers as fresh reports seemed to arrive on the announcer's desk. “Eh, what's that?” he asked. “One minute, please. From reports which have just come to hand, it appears that Sir Theophilus Gooch, who was on his way to this station, has been intercepted by the remnants of the crowd still collected in Trafalgar Square, and is being roasted alive. [...] He is now being roasted alive by a crowd in Trafalgar Square.”
At this, the BBC cut to the Savoy band again. There was another burst of music, and then an announcement that the crowd marching down Whitehall had reached the Houses of Parliament, and were preparing to fire trench mortars at London's most famous landmark. “The clock tower, 320 feet in height, has just fallen to the ground, together with the famous clock Big Ben,” the announcer told astonished listeners.
Worse was to come. “One moment, please. Fresh reports, which have just come to hand, announce that the crowd have secured the person of Mr Wotherspoon, the Minister of Traffic, who was attempting to make his escape in disguise. He has now been hanged from a lamp-post in the Vauxhall Bridge Road.”
Once again, the BBC patched listeners through to the Savoy's band. But this time the music was quickly interrupted by a loud explosion. “Hello everybody,” the announcer cut in. “London calling. The Savoy Hotel has now been blown up by the crowd. That noise which you heard just now was the Savoy Hotel being blown up by the crowd. [...] One moment, please. The more unruly members of the crowd are now approaching the British Broadcasting Company's London station with a threatening demeanour. One moment, please.”
As the rioters reached BBC headquarters, accounts of their progress came to a close, replaced by an hour of assorted music.
The BBC's 2LO was then Britain's only radio station, television was still a decade away, and there would be no newspapers until the following day. All over the country, listeners switched off their sets in a stunned silence and tried to digest the information that the nation's art treasures had been looted, Parliament flattened, the Savoy Hotel bombed and a Government minister lynched in the street. For many, their first instinct was to telephone whatever authorities they could think of and demand more information.
“We had hundreds of serious telephone enquiries from all parts of the country,” the Savoy Hotel's manager told reporters next day. “There were calls from Ireland, Scotland, Manchester, Newcastle, Hull, Leeds, and many other places. We must have had over 200 local calls. People wanted to know whether it would be necessary to cancel their rooms. Some made anxious enquiries as to the safety of friends staying at the hotel.” (2)
Newspapers received hundreds of calls too, later saying they'd been “bombarded with enquiries asking for further details of the revolution and information on the state of the metropolis”. Other listeners called the BBC itself, one complaining that his wife - who had a weak heart - fainted at hearing the broadcast. The Admiralty took calls from people demanding it send a Royal Navy battleship up the Thames immediately to quell the violence. The Mayor of Newcastle returned from an official dinner, where no radio reports had been available, to find his wife in great distress and a telephone message from the Sheriff of the County asking what he intended to do to safeguard his own city.
http://www.planetslade.com/ronald-knox1.html

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's That Time Of Year Again
Orson Welles' PsyOp

Link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M5poCfn-C8





http://bcfm.org.uk/2012/10/26/17/friday-drivetime-94/23232
Second hour: Spoof announcement aboutthe resignationofthe chancellor. Halloween PsyOp: Orson Welles’ 1938 War Of The Worlds psychological warfare on the public with reactions of AT&T telephone operators. Mack White’s ‘Televisionand the Hive Mind’ article; BBC caused panic in 1926 with hoax of revolution taking place in London
with Savoy Hotel, House of Commons & Buckingham Palace underattack. Broadcasting the Barricades.

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www.thisweek.org.uk
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www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anti-Tehran TV launches as Iran state media gets EU boot By RussiaToday

A new TV station is going on air in London this Thursday night aiming to give a platform to the voices of those in opposition to the current leadership of Iran. This comes just over a week after 19 state-run Iranian TV and radio stations were banned in the EU. RT discusses the matter with investigative journalist Tony Gosling who's in Bristol.



Link

_________________
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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Fake British Radio Show That Helped Defeat the Nazis
By spreading fake news and sensational rumors, intelligence officials leveraged “psychological judo” against the Nazis in World War II
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/fake-british-radio-show-helped- defeat-nazis-180962320/

Der Chef
A collage of the work distributed by the British propaganda effort. (International Museum of World War II)
By Marc Wortman
SMITHSONIAN.COM
FEBRUARY 28, 2017
“Hier ist Gustav Siegfried Eins.” This is Gustav Siegfried Eins. “Es spricht der Chef.” The Chief is speaking.

It was just before five in the evening on May 23, 1941, and the Chief’s radio career had begun.

What the Chief said over the next six minutes or so was something that Nazi troops listening to their shortwave radios had never heard before. Using foulmouthed language, graphically pornographic descriptions, and extremist rhetoric, this new voice described incident after incident of incompetence and corruption infecting the Nazi cause.

Criticism of Nazi officials was rarely, if ever, uttered in public. Normally, tightly controlled German radio stations broadcast only approved news, German folk music and classical music. But here, on broadcast bands policed by the government, was a self-proclaimed, devoted Nazi and old guard Prussian military veteran spewing hatred for Nazi leaders. Night after night, starting at 4:48 P.M. and repeating hourly, the Chief delivered his sulfurous on-air denunciations. He skewered their repeated failure to live up to Hitler’s world-conquering ideals.

His profanity-laced tirades lambasted Nazi officials’ buffoonery, sexual perversity and malfeasance, condemning their indifference to the German people’s deprivations while lauding “the devotion to duty shown by our brave troops freezing to death in Russia.” The Chief’s reports of corruption and immorality were mixed in with news about the war and life on the homefront.

In his first broadcast, the Chief blasted Rudolf Hess, previously Hitler’s deputy führer and closest confidante. “As soon as there is a crisis,” he snarled between barnyard epithets, anti-Semitic and anti-British rants, referring to Hess’ recent unexplained solo flight to Scotland, “Hess packs himself a white flag and flies off to throw himself and us on the mercy of that flat-footed b****** of a drunken old cigar-smoking Jew, Churchill!”

At the conclusion of his broadcast, the Chief soberly read off a long numeric series – apparently a coded message – addressed to “Gustav Siegfried Achtzehn,” itself flagged as code for G.S. 18, just like the Chief’s name, Gustav Siegfried Eins, was interpreted as G.S. 1. Nazi security office codebreakers went to work and broke the cipher. Each night after that, the broadcast ended with a numeric sign-off. Once decoded, they typically read off locations, such as the Odeon Cinema, the River Street tram stop, the Eastern food market, and other vaguely identified place names, presumably for secret meetings – though none was decoded with enough precision to pinpoint a specific place for the Gestapo to investigate. Clearly, a dark cabal of disaffected Nazis extremists, likely drawn from the German military, now conspired against the state.

But none of it was real.

Not the Chief’s presumed backstory, not his name, the juicy monologues, the coded messages, none of it. As the enraged Nazis vowed to block his broadcasts – which eventually would number 700 in total – and track him down, they were chasing a ghost.

In reality, the Chief was voiced by a 39-year-old German exile named Peter Seckelmann. A journalist and writer of detective stories before the war, the Berlin native had fled Nazi Germany to England in 1938. As the Chief, his radio voice seemed to embody the harsh and sarcastic tones of an enraged Prussian military officer – and he knew enough of both barracks curses and Germany under Hitler to hit the right notes as he railed against the Nazi Party leaders’ shortcomings. The Chief was just one part of a grander counterintelligence scheme put on by the British government.

Seckelmann and a team of other native German speakers concocted the nightly script with the help of reports from German prisoner of war interrogations, British intelligence, real radio broadcasts and newspapers, resistance operatives, and bomber after-mission debriefings. As the Gestapo scoured Germany hoping to capture the Chief, whom they presumed operated out of a mobile transmitter, Seckelmann sat in a recording studio in England. He broadcasted from a top-secret room within a brick house known as “The Rookery” in Aspley Guise. Like the codebreaking activities at nearby Bletchley Park, evidence of the propaganda campaign remained classified for 50 years after the war.

Gustav Siegfried Eins—German phonetic code for letters that in this case meant nothing, but seemed to mean something—was just one example of the chicanery cooked up and disseminated against the Nazis throughout the war by the British Political Warfare Executive (PWE). Even now, few people know about the PWE’s “black propaganda,” or clandestine deception, because scant evidence of its handiwork remains. Only a single recording of the Chief is believed to exist – though American intelligence monitored, translated and transcribed many of the broadcasts.

Throughout the 1930s, Germany’s propaganda ministry had tightly controlled internal access to information and disseminated both positive news about fascism and outright lies about conditions within occupied lands far and wide. The British joined the propaganda fight, launching their own black propaganda campaign as soon as the war began. It quickly became another brutal front in the struggle for survival. As Germany massed its forces for invasion of England in 1940, the British Special Operations Executive and the BBC’s European Service broadcast dire warnings to German soldiers about the awful fate facing them, warning of a nonexistent oil slick laid out on the English Channel waiting to be torched should they approach the coast.

In August 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill consolidated previously disparate black propaganda operations under the 37-year-old English journalist, Denis Sefton Delmer, a German-language newscaster for the multilingual BBC European Service who knew Hitler personally and the German people intimately – and fiercely opposed Nazism.

Known to his friends as “Tom,” the pudgy, affable, six-foot-tall Delmer enjoyed a good joke. He had been tasked by Churchill with deploying what Delmer called “psychological judo,” turning the enemy’s own strength against him. Delmer was born in Berlin, where his Australian father was a university professor, and remained there into his teen years. Once back in England for boarding school and university, he struggled to rid himself of his German accent. Delmer returned to Germany in the pre-war years as a reporter for a London newspaper. There, he met a number of Nazi Party officials, including Ernst Röhm, a party cofounder and chief of its notoriously violent brown-shirted paramilitary wing. He could easily have been a model for Seckelmann’s Chief.

Through Röhm, Delmer came to know Hitler, who once referred to Delmer as his “favorite” foreign journalist. He accompanied the then-presidential candidate on his personal airplane during his 1932 campaign and walked with Hitler through the burned out ruins of the Reichstag following the massive February 27, 1933, fire. Amid the rubble, Hitler told him, “You are now witnessing the beginning of a great new epoch in German history, Herr Delmer. This fire is the beginning.”

Delmer eventually returned to England. When British forces were pushed off the Continent at Dunkirk in 1940, he replied on air, without permission from the government, to the peace terms – effectively an ultimatum – Hitler had offered the British. “Herr Hitler,” he said, speaking as if they were face-to-face, “you have on occasion in the past consulted me as to the mood of the British public. So permit me to render your Excellency this little service once again. Let me tell you what we here in Britain think of this appeal of yours to what you are pleased to call our reason and common sense. Herr Führer and Reichskanzler [Chancellor], we hurl it right back at you, right in your evil-smelling teeth.”

Once in charge of the PWE, Delmer created multiple “German” radio stations that broadcasted to both Germany and German occupation troops. Among them were stations aimed at German Catholics, soldiers manning Atlantic defenses, beacons aimed at U-boats at sea, and even a fake Radio Berlin on a signal near the real station it impersonated. All sought to break up the German resolve to fight and turn German against German through their mix of truth and believable lie. Even the master of German propaganda Joseph Goebbels admired the effort that went into the PWE radio broadcasts, and their effectiveness. “The station does a very clever job of propaganda,” he wrote in late November 1943, “and from what is put on the air one can gather that the English know exactly what they have destroyed [with their bombing campaign] and what not.”

Delmer was a reporter and radio man by trade and knew that the biggest challenge was simply to attract listeners. He decided that aiming low was the surest way to gain what today would be called “market share.” He called it “propaganda by pornography.”

He learned from the masters: He wrote after the war that, having witnessed Hitler’s success in using Nazi propaganda and fake news about Jews to forge his audience and popular support, “I decided to use radio-pornography to catch [listeners’] attention. My ‘Chef’ (Hitler was always called ‘Der Chef’ by those in his inner circle so I decided to call my veteran hero ‘Der Chef’) became a kind of radio Streicher, except that the victims of his pornographic tirades were Nazis, not Jews.” He recalled, “I took an enormous amount of trouble over the Chef’s erotica and devoted many hours of patient research to finding ever new forms sexual depravity to attribute to our victims in the Hitler machine.” He contended, “The recipe was an instant success.”

Each station carried a studied mix of what Delmer later called “cover, cover, dirt, cover, dirt,” an irresistible mixture of pornography, anti-Nazi diatribes, and factual reports about the war and life on the homefront. Delmer delighted at the thought of “leather coated Gestapo thugs” chasing the Chief and his traitorous co-conspirators around Europe in vain.

Delmer’s PWE was a veritable fake news mill. Teams of artists, printers, and writers also published fake German newspapers and printed up thousands of illustrated leaflets full of believable, yet mostly false, “news,” as well as pornographic illustrations, forged leave passes for soldiers, and other documents designed to crack apart German unity. News reports “informed” the German public about deaths of specific soldiers, officials swapping increasingly worthless German Reichsmark currency for Swiss francs, stores hording scarce goods, Nazi officials sleeping with the wives of soldiers at the front, troop mutinies, and spreading disease at home. Leaflets dropped over occupied territories included tales of sabotaged German hand grenades that exploded when their pins were pulled, mess hall food with human debris in it, the wounded receiving transfusions with venereal disease-infected Polish and Russian blood, and lethal injections being given to badly wounded soldiers to free up beds for the men who could return to the fight.

Wherever there was war, the PWE was part of the fight. In the Middle East, Arabs in lands sympathetic to Hitler received leaflets that warned of German soldiers killing and butchering children for meat in occupied sections of North Africa.

To succeed at the PWE, staff had to have artistic talent, journalistic professionalism, and a tough stomach. Also critical to the fight were the bombers who ran dangerous missions to airdrop the propaganda, and real resistance operatives on the ground who risked their lives to distribute and post the documents.

Why invest so much personnel and money in massive black propaganda operations? Delmer and his betters in the British government believed that it worked, that their efforts confused and demoralized German troops and their anxious families at home, and undermined their will to fight. It also sapped Germany’s fighting resources, tying them up in attempts to block radio broadcasts, trash newspapers and leaflets, track down supposed clandestine cells, and squelch rumors. The Chief’s nightly show was successful enough that it fooled American embassy officials in Berlin before the United States’ entry into the war, who told Franklin D. Roosevelt about its existence as evidence of growing friction between the Nazi Party and the army. Roosevelt enjoyed engaging in wartime deceptions and, upon learning the truth about the fakery, supposedly laughed at how he had been taken in.

While the true benefits of such psychological weaponry were probably impossible to measure, the PWE issued a secret wartime assessment of the penetration and reception of the broadcasts, based on interrogations of prisoners of war. These showed an “ever-widening audience that the station has gained among members of the German armed forces.” German troops tuned in nightly to hear how far the Chief’s scorn for Nazi Party leaders would go, to spice up their grim lives in occupied lands with erotic gossip, and to get news they couldn’t find anywhere else. The PWE report found evidence of listeners in places as far-flung as Berlin, Vienna, and North Africa; even “U-boat crews taken prisoner in the Atlantic admit having heard it.” Though German citizens were forbidden from listening to unauthorized radio stations, on pain of death if discovered, civilians hungering for news of the war, too, tuned into the Chief or heard gossip about broadcasts.

German authorities attempted to jam broadcasts and threatened anyone discovered listening to G.S.1 and other illegal broadcasts. Legitimate German radio stations denounced it as fake and tried to disprove the Chief’s claims. Despite these efforts, the PWE analysis found, “it seems to be widely believed that G.S.1 is a station operating inside Germany or German-occupied Europe. Even a man who was employed by the Reich Radio believed that G.S.1 was a mobile station operating from a German army vehicle.”

Not everyone agreed that the PWE’s psychological operations were worth the costs. The commander of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command, Sir Arthur Harris, hated seeing his precious airplanes tied up with dangerous drops, which, he insisted after the war, did nothing but serve Europe’s need for toilet paper.

Nonetheless, all of the warring powers pursued black propaganda. Well experienced in the dark arts of psychological warfare, Germany used the enormous international shortwave radio network it had built prior to the war to air the rantings of “Lord Haw Haw,” British fascist William Brooke Joyce, who tried to convince his former countrymen that war against the Nazis was futile. Mildred Gillars, an American nicknamed “Axis Sally,” former National Geographic journalist Douglas Chandler, under the pseudonym of “Paul Revere,” and renowned poet Ezra Pound all put their words to work for the Nazis. (In the Pacific war theater, several English-speaking Japanese women collectively known as “Tokyo Rose” were equally notorious for their attempts to sap the fighting spirit of American troops.) American listeners at home were also a target. German English language Radio D.E.B.U.N.K. broadcast from Bremen, but claimed to be “the Voice of All Free America” transmitting from somewhere in the Midwest.

As the invasion of Normandy approached in 1944, the PWE ramped up its deception efforts. Two new “gray” radio stations, Soldatensender Calais and Kurzwellensender Atlantik (Soldiers’ Station Calais and Shortwave Station Atlantic), aimed broadcasts at German coastal defenders. The station lured listeners with a dusk-to-dawn mix of real news—much of it not available to German soldiers—sports reports from Germany, popular German dance music, and long forbidden American jazz and swing. Interspersed throughout was the “dirt”: plausible reports about invasion preparations intended to convince German intelligence officers that the assault would cover a far more expansive area than it actually did.

American air forces also dropped an average of 250,000 copies of Nachrichten für die Truppe (News for the Troops), a newspaper written for the German troops in the West, each night before and after the invasion. After D-Day, prisoner interrogations showed that over 50 percent had listened to the stations. Many trusted News for the Troops more than their own national news sources.

Delmer continued his feverish black propaganda campaign through the war, using his trademark mix of fact and lie, over the airwaves and in print, moving his transmitters and aiming his broadcasts at new audiences as Allied forces advanced. After the war, he returned to journalism, even reporting again from Germany. He also wrote several books, including two memoirs. One, Black Boomerang, focused on his time running PWE black propaganda operations. He also lectured on psychological warfare, even advising American intelligence on the subject.

As for the Chief, his radio career ended abruptly. Perhaps fearing that German listeners were becoming increasingly indifferent about the erotic lures being broadcast, Delmer determined that, in a realistic finale, he should sacrifice the Chief’s “life” for the anti-Nazi cause. For his last hurrah, the PWE staged a Gestapo raid on G.S.1’s 700th episode, November 11, 1943. “I’ve finally caught you, you pig!” yelled a voice, followed by a hail of machine gun bullets, “killing” the Chief. The station seemed to have gone dark—but a PWE staffer, apparently unaware of the Chief’s demise, rebroadcasted the shootout a second time and perhaps spoiled the ruse. No matter. Delmer and his PWE staff would cook up plenty of other “news” before the war ended, lying through their teeth – with just the right amount of truth – for the sake of victory.

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'RT Was Forced to Register as a Foreign Agent':
https://www.thenation.com/article/rt-was-forced-to-register-as-a-forei gn-agent/

'n Monday, the Russian state-funded television network RT America met a Justice Department deadline to register as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). RT rejects the designation and has vowed to mount a court challenge, but says the possibility of asset freezes and arrests forced it to comply.

The demand is unusual. Although hundreds of foreign entities are registered under FARA, international media outlets are almost entirely exempt, and none have registered in over a decade. RT America is headquartered in Washington, DC, and RT has bureaus in several other cities. Its operational structure closely resembles US-based, state-owned counterparts like BBC America, Al Jazeera English, and China’s CCTV, yet RT stands alone in being compelled to register under a law established in 1938 to counter Nazi propaganda.

The Justice Department has not offered a detailed public explanation. But in a January 2017 report accusing Russia of interfering in the 2016 election to elect Donald Trump, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined that RT and sister radio network Sputnik “contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging........”

'Britain bans Iran's Press TV from airwaves':
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9028435/Brit ain-bans-Irans-Press-TV-from-airwaves.html

'Britain took a key communications arm of the Iranian state off the airwaves on Friday when Press TV, a satellite news channel, lost its broadcasting licence.

Ofcom, the UK regulator, took this decision after Press TV repeatedly broke the broadcasting code.
In 2009, the channel showed an interview with Maziar Bahari, a "Newsweek" journalist, who had been jailed in Tehran while covering mass protests against a disputed presidential election.
Mr Bahari said this interview had been conducted under duress and his captors had threatened him with execution unless he gave the answers he wanted. Last year, Ofcom imposed a fine of £100,000 on Press TV, reversing an earlier decision to revoke the channel's licence.
As part of the investigation into this incident, Ofcom found that editorial decisions governing the channel were taken in Tehran. It wanted Press TV to be under the editorial control of the same company in London that held the broadcasting licence. Alternatively, the licence could have been transferred to Tehran.
An Ofcom spokesman said that Press TV failed to agree to these proposals, and that consequently its licence had been revoked. This decision was "not taken lightly," he added, and only a handful of licences had been taken away in the eight-year history of Ofcom.....'

We'll soon be relegated to 'Samizdat' communications, with all social media censored, foreign broadcasts blocked and only the lying MSM propaganda allowed.

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'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy terror: The first great radio hoax
By Paul Slade
http://www.planetslade.com/ronald-knox.html

“Unemployed demonstration in London. The crowd has now passed along Whitehall and, at the suggestion of Mr Popplebury, Secretary of the National Movement for Abolishing Theatre Queues, is preparing to demolish the Houses of Parliament with trench mortars. [...] The clock tower, 320 feet in height, has just fallen to the ground, together with the famous clock Big Ben, which used to strike the hours on a bell weighing nine tons.”

- Ronald Knox, Broadcasting the Barricades, January 16, 1926.

“Hundreds of people rang up amazed newspaper offices, asking for details and saying they had heard it from the BBC. In the West of England, rumours were still going round yesterday morning and anxious enquiries were made of the police as to the truth of the report.”

- Daily Mirror, January 18, 1926.


The first reports came through just after 7:40 on Saturday evening. Listeners to the BBC's fledgling radio service heard the closing words of a talk on Gray's Elegy, then a plummy announcer's voice breaking in with news that an unemployment demonstration in Trafalgar Square had turned violent. The angry demonstrators were already sacking the National Gallery, he said, and they weren't finished yet.
It was January 16, 1926, and many listeners must been half-expecting news like this to break any day. Russia's 1917 revolution had left Britain's establishment nervous about proletarian revolt, the First World War had undermined all notions of working class deference and the Labour Party had just adopted Clause IV's call for common ownership. The first half of the 1920s saw the formation of the British Communist Party, two miners' strikes paving the way for a General Strike to come, and the election of the country's first Labour Government.
“There were great worries that deference was on the wane,” explains Joanna Bourke, author of Fear: A Cultural History. “And that poor people, the unemployed, were not going to put up with being poor any more.”
After a few minutes of live music from the Savoy Hotel's house band, the announcer broke in again. “The unemployed demonstration,” he began. “The crowd is now pouring through the Admiralty Arch, and is advancing towards the back of the Government buildings in Whitehall in a threatening manner.” (1)
The crowd had reached the Houses of Parliament, and was preparing to fire trench mortars
There followed some reports of demonstrators throwing empty bottles at the ducks in St James's Park, and then a shuffling of papers as fresh reports seemed to arrive on the announcer's desk. “Eh, what's that?” he asked. “One minute, please. From reports which have just come to hand, it appears that Sir Theophilus Gooch, who was on his way to this station, has been intercepted by the remnants of the crowd still collected in Trafalgar Square, and is being roasted alive. [...] He is now being roasted alive by a crowd in Trafalgar Square.”
At this, the BBC cut to the Savoy band again. There was another burst of music, and then an announcement that the crowd marching down Whitehall had reached the Houses of Parliament, and were preparing to fire trench mortars at London's most famous landmark. “The clock tower, 320 feet in height, has just fallen to the ground, together with the famous clock Big Ben,” the announcer told astonished listeners.
Worse was to come. “One moment, please. Fresh reports, which have just come to hand, announce that the crowd have secured the person of Mr Wotherspoon, the Minister of Traffic, who was attempting to make his escape in disguise. He has now been hanged from a lamp-post in the Vauxhall Bridge Road.”
Once again, the BBC patched listeners through to the Savoy's band. But this time the music was quickly interrupted by a loud explosion. “Hello everybody,” the announcer cut in. “London calling. The Savoy Hotel has now been blown up by the crowd. That noise which you heard just now was the Savoy Hotel being blown up by the crowd. [...] One moment, please. The more unruly members of the crowd are now approaching the British Broadcasting Company's London station with a threatening demeanour. One moment, please.”
As the rioters reached BBC headquarters, accounts of their progress came to a close, replaced by an hour of assorted music.
The BBC's 2LO was then Britain's only radio station, television was still a decade away, and there would be no newspapers until the following day. All over the country, listeners switched off their sets in a stunned silence and tried to digest the information that the nation's art treasures had been looted, Parliament flattened, the Savoy Hotel bombed and a Government minister lynched in the street. For many, their first instinct was to telephone whatever authorities they could think of and demand more information.
“We had hundreds of serious telephone enquiries from all parts of the country,” the Savoy Hotel's manager told reporters next day. “There were calls from Ireland, Scotland, Manchester, Newcastle, Hull, Leeds, and many other places. We must have had over 200 local calls. People wanted to know whether it would be necessary to cancel their rooms. Some made anxious enquiries as to the safety of friends staying at the hotel.” (2)
Newspapers received hundreds of calls too, later saying they'd been “bombarded with enquiries asking for further details of the revolution and information on the state of the metropolis”. Other listeners called the BBC itself, one complaining that his wife - who had a weak heart - fainted at hearing the broadcast. The Admiralty took calls from people demanding it send a Royal Navy battleship up the Thames immediately to quell the violence. The Mayor of Newcastle returned from an official dinner, where no radio reports had been available, to find his wife in great distress and a telephone message from the Sheriff of the County asking what he intended to do to safeguard his own city. (3, 4, 5, 6)

Bourke summed up reactions to the broadcast for a 2005 Radio 4 documentary I helped to make. “The immediate impact was really dramatic,” she told presenter Ray Snoddy. “All over the country - particularly in rural areas and isolated areas - people became very, very frightened. [...] Newspapers were delayed that day, because there was heavy snow in London, and so lots of people didn't get their newspapers. This all seemed to confirm their belief that something must be terribly, terribly wrong.” (7)
The Sunday newspapers may not have got through, but Monday morning's did, and many carried news of the broadcast on their front pages. Only then did some listeners discover that the BBC account of London's weekend riots had been a hoax dreamed up by a mischievous Catholic priest.


Ronald Knox was born in 1888, the son of a clergyman who went on to become Anglican Bishop of Manchester. His maternal grandfather was a Bishop too, and his eldest brother went on to edit the satirical magazine Punch.
Knox quickly established himself as a brilliant scholar, publishing his first collection of verse at the age of 18 and establishing what the Dictionary of National Biography calls “a nationwide reputation” by the time he left Eton for Oxford's Balliol College in 1907. He was elected president of the Oxford Union two years later, after winning many prizes for his Greek and Latin verse there. He left the university with a first in Greats and an even higher reputation for brilliance than he'd had before. In 1912, he became an Anglican priest and, later that year, the Chaplain of Oxford's Trinity College.
Knox had a wicked sense of humour, and often brought this to bear in his writing projects
Knox would sometimes exercise his formidable brain by setting himself additional little challenges in the writing he produced. Two of his earliest publications were theological works criticising modernist trends in the Church of England, which Knox spiced up - if only for his own benefit - by writing one in the style of Dryden and the other of Swift. Anything less, it seems, would have left him bored by the childishly simple task of detailed theological argument.
He had a wicked sense of humour too, and often brought this to bear in his writing. Growing irritated with conspiracy theories that insisted Shakespeare could not possibly have written his own plays, Knox concocted a few cryptograms from Tennyson's In Memoriam and used these to prove conclusively that the poem had been written by Queen Victoria.
This mischief showed again in his 1911 lecture Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes, where Knox set out to parody the German School's influential Biblical analysis by applying its methods to a piece of popular entertainment. The German School picked apart the text of the Bible to fret over questions like why both Matthew and Mark's gospels choose to relate John the Baptist's death as a flash-back and ask what this implied about their authorship.
Knox mocked this approach by using minor inconsistencies in the Holmes canon to conclude that Dr Watson had clearly fallen prey to drink after Holmes' death at the Reichenbach Falls. No longer able to chronicle his friend's real-life adventures, Knox argues, Watson took to making up inferior new tales by stealing plots from authors like Guy Boothby (Dr Nikola), Edgar Allan Poe (The Gold Bug) and EW Hornung (Raffles).
“Watson has been a bit of a gad-about,” he argues from evidence in the stories. “His brother, so Holmes finds out by examining the scratches on the keyhole of his watch, was a confirmed drunkard. He himself, as a bachelor, haunts the Criterion Bar. In The Sign of Four, he admits to having had too much Beaune for lunch. [...] What happens? His Eligah is taken away from him; his wife, as we know, dies; he slips back into the grip of his old enemy; his practice, already diminished by continued neglect, vanishes away: he is forced to earn a livelihood by patching together clumsy travesties of the wonderful incidents of which he was once the faithful recorder.” (Cool
By drawing such a fanciful conclusion from highly selective evidence - and resolutely ignoring Arthur Conan Doyle's role in the stories' declining quality - Knox hoped to make the German School's method look equally silly. Instead, many Holmes fans simply took the lecture at face value, making it a foundation stone for their own obsessive study of the stories. Even Doyle seemed to miss the joke, writing to Knox a few months after the lecture was published to take up its criticisms over four excruciating pages.
Thirty years later, Knox was still assumed to be an authority on Holmes, and was regularly approached by editors hoping he'd agree to review the latest Sherlockian tome. “I can't BEAR books about Sherlock Holmes,” he replied to one such request. “It is so depressing that my one permanent achievement is to have started a bad joke.” (9)
Knox taught at Shrewsbury school for a while during World War I, and then began working for the War Office. In 1919, he left the Church of England to become a Roman Catholic priest. The BBC launched its first radio broadcasts in November 1922, and Knox began his own radio career with a few short sermons the following year.
British radio in those days was regulated by the Post Office, which depended on the newspaper industry for much of its income. This gave newspaper owners the leverage to ensure the BBC's news service was severely curtailed. No news summaries were allowed before 7:00pm, to prevent broadcast news competing with the evening papers, and the BBC was banned from giving any sporting results for the same reason. As late as 1926, its live broadcast of the Derby went out only on the strict understanding that it must not reveal who won.
Despite these restrictions, and despite the fact that only a single station was available, radio quickly became a popular medium. In 1923, the BBC started producing Radio Times, a magazine listing its exact schedules for every day of the coming week, producing an extra surge of interest in the service. The following year's broadcast of cello player Beatrice Harrison dueting with a nightingale in her garden began an annual series which produced over 50,000 fan letters for her.

“Listening in”, as radio fans called their hobby, was far from the casual business which transistors and DAB allow today. Most listeners received the BBC on their £3 crystal sets, teasing a fragile signal through the headphones required and shushing other members of the family at every tiny interruption. Programming then consisted of Reuters' strictly-policed news summary, classical concerts and several thousand live BBC talks every year. This was supplemented by live dance bands from the Savoy Hotel and whatever innovations managing director John Reith could get past the authorities.
Reith's efforts encouraged growing affection for the BBC, and gradually it began to take a place at the very centre of British public life. In 1923, Reith persuaded Parliament to let him broadcast Big Ben's chimes for the first time. In April 1924, King George V allowed his speech opening the British Empire Exhibition to be broadcast live. Large public speakers were placed along London's busy Oxford Street, and drivers there pulled over to hear him speak. The first purpose-built radio play, complete with sound effects, went out later that year.
Still there was considerable nervousness where BBC news was concerned - not least among Reith's own staff. The Reuters deal meant the BBC had to take this news agency copy as it had been written, and had no direct control over its content. One 1924 Reuters summary revealed that Princess Mary's babies were attended by two nurses, and that the younger child was carried about on a white silk cushion. “This information only helps to stimulate feelings akin to Bolshevism,” BBC director of programmes Arthur Burrows complained. And there's that fear of a Communist uprising again.
Reith himself was always braver about these issues. In one Radio Times column, he recalled a 1923 BBC debate which had dared to include a Communist on its panel. “It produced not revolution, but an interesting discussion,” Reith assured his readers. (11)
Knox copied BBC style, adding an extra element of deliberate confusion as reports came in
Still the Post Office seemed determined to block Reith at every turn, refusing his requests to broadcast even the most carefully-balanced political debates or any speech emanating from Parliament. Reith kept firing away, suggesting ideas like broadcasting the Memorial Day service at the Cenotaph or the Oxford Union's debates, but was almost always turned down flat or expertly stalled. Finally, the frustration started to show. “We urgently need to develop new lines and keep opening new fields,” he told the Postmaster General in one exasperated 1925 letter. “The service is being badly prejudiced.”
As that year drew to a close, the BBC had an audience of over ten million people, and the technology to reach 30 million more. The Government's Sykes Committee would soon recommend that “a modicum of controversy” be allowed on the BBC - a move the Postmaster General ultimately had to accept - but Ronald Knox already had something far more ambitious in mind.


It all looks so innocent in The Times' daily radio listings: “7;40: - The Rev. Father Ronald Knox - 'Broadcasting the Barricades', SB from Edinburgh.”
Even there, though, there is a small clue to be uncovered. The broadcast itself, as we'll see in a moment, gave a distinct impression that it was coming from London and that the announcer was speaking from the very building invaded by rioters at his report's conclusion. In fact, the announcer - played by Knox himself - was sitting in Edinburgh. Knox knew George Marshall, the BBC's station controller at Edinburgh well, was accustomed to working with him, and found his the most convenient BBC studio to use.
No recording of the broadcast survives, but we do have Knox's original 17-minute script from the BBC archives, and Evelyn Waugh's account from his 1959 biography of Knox. Before the programme began, Marshall delivered a short announcement telling listeners' exactly what they were about to hear.
“It was prefaced by an explicit statement that it was a work of humour and imagination, enlivened by realistic ‘sound effects’, which were still a novelty,” Waugh explains. “Read today, it seems barely credible that it could have caused a tremor of alarm in the most timid listener. (Ronald) had no idea of imposing on anyone. The intention was broad parody.” (9)
Marshall's announcement gave way to a moment of deliberate static, and then Knox's voice imitating a lisping, elderly don in mid-lecture. This character - who Knox christened William Donkinson - concludes his remarks by mentioning “litewawy valuth and a higher thenthe of the poththibilitieth of human achievement”, gives a prolonged cough, and then lapses into silence.
Like the faked news report that followed, Donkinson's contribution was written to copy the BBC's prevailing style, but to exaggerate all that style's distinguishing marks to the point of parody. BBC listeners at the time would have been well-used to hearing improving educational talks on the wireless, often delivered by academics who were only a little less eccentric than Donkinson seemed to be. Knox also took care to copy BBC style when composing his news copy, adding the extra element of deliberate confusion as fresh reports seemed to arrive on the announcer's desk or the story's unpredictable nature forced the BBC to cut in and out of its Savoy dance band transmission.
“The idea for this skit came to me while I was sitting at home listening to the results of the last election being broadcast,” Knox later explained. “I endeavoured to visualise the breathlessness there would be throughout the country during a revolution, and I tried to imagine the news bulletins during such a time of popular excitement. I put my ideas on paper and then attempted to burlesque them.” (12)
The resulting script is peppered with stylistic tics and outright jokes, which Knox evidently assumed would alert his listeners not to take it too seriously. I've rigorously excised all those jokes from the account of the broadcast opening this piece to try and duplicate the sensationalist impression most listeners seem to have taken away. But just look at the tip-offs they missed:

* Knox uses comedy names for all the characters mentioned in his report: Mr Popplebury, Sir Theophilus Gooch, Miss Joy Gush and Mr Wotherspoon. Any one of these names may be thought ridiculous enough, but taken together, they're a clear indication that something fishy's going on.

* Knox also gives his characters ludicrous jobs. The rioters' ringleader Mr Popplebury, for example, gets nine mentions in the report, and is described every time as “Secretary of the National Movement for Abolishing Theatre Queues”. Why would such a trivial figure be leading this serious unrest? The unfortunate Mr Wotherspoon is described as “Minister of Traffic”, a post which - as Knox later pointed out to his critics - did not exist.

* In parodying the BBC's news style of the day, Knox often gives the same piece of information twice, first in the active voice and then the passive. For example: “The crowd in Trafalgar Square is now assuming threatening dimensions. Threatening dimensions are now being assumed by the crowd which has gathered in Trafalgar Square”. He pushes this to the point of absurdity by using it six times in a very short piece.

* In copying the BBC's determination to educate its listeners, Knox often slips in a passage of unwanted historical detail before returning abruptly to the subject at hand. On the Houses of Parliament, for example, he says: “The building is made of magnesian limestone from Yorkshire, a material which is unfortunately liable to rapid decay. At present, in any case, it is being demolished with trench mortars.”

* Knox breaks up reports of the riot with parodies of other BBC news content, including the arrival of a spectacularly vacuous American film star at Southampton. He also includes a weather forecast which announces the weather will be “fine generally, with occasional showers in the South and a continuous downpour in the North”. Winds, he adds, will be “violent” in England and “assume the dimensions of a hurricane” in Scotland. But otherwise fine.

* Sir Theophilus Gooch's death in Trafalgar Square - and the far more serious news that his BBC talk will now have to be cancelled - is followed by a short biographical sketch. “He very soon attracted the notice of his employers,” Knox says. “However, nothing was proved, and Sir Theophilus retired with a considerable fortune.”

* Following the collapse of Big Ben, Knox explains twice that Greenwich Time will instead be given from Edinburgh on “Uncle Leslie's repeating watch”.

* After the sensational news that Mr Wotherspoon has been hanged from a lamp-post in the Vauxhall Bridge Road, Knox sets listeners up to expect a vital correction. Dragging their expectation out as far as he dares, and with fulsome apologies on behalf of the BBC, he finally admits that it was actually a tramway post.

* When Popplebury's mob reach the BBC, Knox announces breathlessly that they have entered the waiting room, where calm is instantly restored. “They are reading copies of the Radio Times,” he explains. “Goodnight, everybody. Goodnight.”
'Being a very clever, witty man himself, he didn't estimate how stupid other people can be'
With all those clues packed into a 17-minute broadcast, it's hard to see how anyone managed to mistake Knox's spoof for the real thing. Radio historian Paddy Scannell puts their credulity partly down to the fact that the wireless was so new, and partly to the fact that many probably didn't hear the full programme.
“At that time, radio was only about four years old,” he told Snoddy for Radio 4's The Riot That Never Was. “There'd be about a million radio sets in the country, and people weren't really familiar with listening to the radio in the way that we all are today. [...] I imagine if they had listened all the way through, it would become progressively clearer that it was a joke. But if you just came in, as people often did, in the middle of a programme and you only heard a little bit of it, you might think it was real.” (7)
Snoddy put the same question to the University of Kent's Alan Beck, who offered a slightly different explanation. “People who perhaps couldn't even afford gramophones, in all reaches of the country, were for the first time listening in,” he explained. “People in country regions, not urban regions, were for the first time being reached. This was a much more popular audience - an audience that was not involved in reading high-class journalism such as Punch and the quality papers.” (7)
People like this would have encountered nothing remotely like Knox's sophisticated satire anywhere else in their lives, and their limited experience of radio so far had done nothing to prepare them for a prank like this. “The idea of parodying a news broadcast!” Scannell exclaimed to Snoddy. “Nobody had done it before. It was very mischievous, I'd say. It's absolutely unsurprising that people were fooled by it. Why should they not believe this? It was the BBC after all!”
Father Ian Ker's grandfather was Ronald Knox's first cousin, and Ker has followed in the great man's footsteps by becoming a Catholic Chaplain at Oxford himself. When we questioned him about his relative's motives, he admitted Knox might have been a little naïve in imaging how the broadcast would be received.
“I think Knox was genuinely surprised by the reaction,” Ker said. “Because it had been made so clear at the beginning of the broadcast that this was a practical joke. Being a very clever and witty man himself, I suppose he didn't estimate how stupid other people can be. He was used to growing up with clever and witty people, and I suppose he just didn't estimate the kind of audience who were likely to listen to this.” (7)
Whatever the reasons, there's no doubt that a lot of people were fooled. Just 20 minutes after finishing the broadcast, Knox was sitting down to supper at Edinburgh's Caledonian Hotel when the waiter announced that a Mr Reith was on the phone. Reith passed on the news that staff at the BBC's Savoy Hill headquarters were already getting anxious enquiries about what was happening in London. By 9:00pm, the BBC was broadcasting this reassurance:

“Some listeners, who apparently only heard part of Father Knox's talk at 7:40 this evening did not realise the humorous innuendoes underlying the imaginary news items and have felt uneasy as to the fate of London, Big Ben and other places mentioned in the talk. The preliminary announcement stated that the talk was a skit on broadcasting and the whole talk was, of course, a burlesque. We hope that any listeners who did not realise it will accept our sincere apologies for any uneasiness caused. London is safe. Big Ben is still chiming, and all is well.”

“Uneasiness” is a splendidly gentle word for an announcement like that, suggesting as it does that listeners were never more than mildly concerned. But it doesn't quite fit the experience of a BBC sound effects man called JCS MacGregor, who found himself fielding many of the calls that had made the announcement necessary. MacGregor was one of the technical team assisting with Knox's broadcast, and the switchboard evidently decided that was good enough reason to lumber him with the resulting complaints.
“I was one of those who worked the simple sound effects,” he later recalled in an article for the BBC's house magazine. “An orange box to be hacked, torn and stamped to pieces, and a sack of broken glass to be dumped on the studio floor convinced listeners from Land's End to Berwick-on-Tweed that the Savoy Hotel was indeed falling in ruins: and it was on my devoted head that the storm broke.” (4)
'Thousands of people were thrown into a panic, fearing that revolution had broken out'
The first caller of the night was convivial enough, but the second proved a far more awkward customer. “His wife had a weak heart and had fainted at the news,” MacGregor recalled. “When he gathered from me that the whole thing was fictitious, he exploded. What, he asked with some vigour, did the BBC mean by it? Did we realise we had grossly misled the country and were playing into the hands of the Bolshevists?”
There followed a batch of other calls in much the same vein, and then one from a reporter at the Daily Mail. “My interrogator seemed to have a certain lack of sympathy with the BBC and a natural desire to make the most of a good story,” MacGregor writes. “It was a trying experience.”


MacGregor must have been relieved to see that Monday's Mail did not mention him by name, but quoted instead the official BBC statement regretting any confusion caused. “As there are so many 'talks' in the broadcast programmes, thousands of listeners did not switch on until they hoped the talk was over,” the Mail helpfully explained. “As a result, they heard fragmentary statements, delivered in the manner of BBC announcers.” (13)
After a quick summary of BTB's content, the paper describes the flood of calls its own office had received. “The callers were in a state of excitement and demanded to know what was happening in London,” it says. “Was it true that Big Ben had been blown up? Had the National Gallery been sacked? Were the Government calling on loyal citizens? Many refused to be reassured. 'We have heard it on the wireless,' they declared. 'Why, we have even heard the explosions!'”
All that day's newspapers went to town on the story, not only because it made such a rattling good yarn, but also because it offered the chance to portray the BBC as a dangerously irresponsible organisation. Despite the press barons' financial stranglehold on the Post Office, Reith was gradually winning more and more concessions over what the BBC was allowed to do. A full-blooded broadcast news service - if that ever came - was sure to eat into newspaper readership, and so cut the advertising profits that readership generated.
The more pressure the papers could put on Government to hobble the BBC with heavy regulation, the less of a threat this huge new competitor was likely to be. No wonder they were so delighted to report a BBC broadcast which had panicked many innocent listeners.
“The BBC has unintentionally been responsible for the biggest scare known in Britain since the advent of broadcasting,” trumpeted the Evening Standard. “Half the country over the weekend has been flooded with rumours of a great upheaval in London.” The Times added that “many timid folk were genuinely startled by the news”. (14, 15)
The Daily Express joined in too. “The British Broadcasting Company has leant itself to a practical joke of a particularly foolish character,” it said. “Why it should seem funny to a priest to insult the working people of England by representing them in the act of dynamite outrages is one of those problems we do not pretend the ability to solve.” The Express then quotes the former Liberal MP Leo Chiozza Money, who declares: “The item was utterly humourless. The BBC should be ashamed of having included it in their programme.” (16)
“Much is permitted to the humorist,” the Daily Graphic announced. “That the BBC should allow him to address his fooling to a nationwide audience is another matter.” The Daily Sketch added: “Thousands of people who missed the introduction were thrown into a state of panic by the thought that a revolution had broken out in the metropolis.” (3, 17)
Even the Catholic magazine The Tablet felt it must have its say - albeit with some rather bizarre logic. “There are in England groups of hireling Communists who must have been enormously encouraged by the fact that many Britons were badly scared last Saturday,” it warned. “These Reds can now truthfully report to their employers that a red Revolution is not unthinkable in England, seeing that even a burlesque account of it caused widespread alarm.” (1Cool
The papers in Scotland took a slightly different line, often using the story to tease their English neighbours a little. “Scottish people apparently saw the joke without need of surgical operation,” the Weekly Scotsman announced. “It was English listeners who were mostly alarmed, and many enquiries from Ireland perhaps betrayed more interest than concern.” (19)
Tempting as it was to simply blame the BBC for all this, a couple of papers did wonder about listeners' gullibility too. “A joke is never so dangerous as when it is a good joke,” mused the Daily News. “In every population, even in Scotland, there is a large percentage of respectable, hard-working and a kind-hearted citizens to whom a funny story, especially if it is ironically funny, unless carefully annotated by a Government official, makes the single, direct appeal in evidential values of a police court narrative.” (20)

“Humour and satire are dangerous implements when they are applied to mankind in the mass,” added the Irish Times. “The BBC will be wise if, in future, it takes no risk with its public's average standard of intelligence.” Knox's brother made a similar point when speaking to the Daily Sketch: “I am inclined to think my brother over-estimated the people's sense of humour”. (21, 22)
The BBC responded to all this fuss by calmly repeating extracts from its original statement, expressing regret that anyone was distressed, and reminding people again about all the warnings the broadcast had contained. Knox himself remained philosophical. “I had no idea that listeners would take what I said seriously,” he told the Evening Standard: “Even now, I cannot quite see how anyone could have misinterpreted my remarks. I am sure that my 'news reports' were so far-fetched that no-one who thought them out could have been alarmed.” (12)
Waugh confirms this. “Ronald himself was not much cast down by his reception,” he writes. “His conscience was perfectly clear of any malicious intent, and he could not take seriously the annoyance of people so egregiously lacking in humour. [...] A colleague at St Edmund's remembers his unaffected delight in hearing himself roundly abused over their beer by two men in a fishing inn.”


Far from being angry at the storm Broadcasting the Barricades had produced, Reith was delighted. This is a reaction which often surprises people today, who know Reith - later Lord Reith of course - only as the unbendingly stern and puritanical figure which his legend as the BBC's founding father portrays.
BBC figures show more than nine positive responses to the programme for every complaint
“Given that everybody thinks of Reith as a rather grim Scottish Calvinist, you might have expected him to be full of wrath and apologies for the broadcast,” Paddy Scannell told Radio 4. “But actually, he was very pleased by it. What the BBC was above all concerned about at that time was building its audience. He was thrilled with the results, because it proved that people were listening and they were responding to it.”
On February 11, 1926 - less than a month after BTB went out - Reith made his latest report to the BBC's directors. “The outstanding item of last month was unexpected,” he told them “Father Ronald Knox's broadcast aroused much public attention, but press criticism only produced an increase in the number of appreciations received by us.” (23)
Reith's figures show 2,307 appreciations for the programme, against only 249 criticisms, 194 of which were directed at Knox himself. With more than nine positive responses to the programme for every negative one received, he had every reason to be pleased. Five days later, the BBC's programme board decided to authorise its first April Fool's Day programme, suggesting: “a suitable hoax [...] somewhat on the lines of the Father Ronald Knox transmission”.
Knox continued to make occasional BBC broadcasts after all the fuss died down - notably a spoof scientific talk claiming scientists had detected the sound of vegetables in pain - but concentrated mostly on his writing. This ranged from the light detective stories which he wrote for his own amusement to far more ambitious works such 1939's Let Dons Delight, which imagines a series of conversations in an Oxford Common room between Elizabeth I's reign and Knox's own time. Around 1936, he embarked on the mammoth task of producing a new translation of the Bible, the final fruits of which were published in 1950.
Somewhere along the way, Knox met Evelyn Waugh and the two men became close friends. Waugh, who considered Knox “the first prose writer of our time” agreed to serve as his literary executor and, when Knox died in 1957, set about writing his biography. According to Waugh's Times obituary, this was “of all his works the one by which he set the highest store”. (24)
Knox died with many high honours attached to his name, having become a Catholic Monsignor, a Fellow of both Trinity and Balliol colleges, and a Protonotary Apostolic to Pope Pius XII. His own Times obituary calls him “the wittiest churchman in England since Sydney Smith”, but he's now remembered for little more than a couple of entries in the dictionary of quotations. That crack about babies comprising “a loud noise at one end and no responsibility at the other” is one of Knox's, and so is the observation that a good sermon, like a woman's skirt, should be “short enough to rouse the interest, but long enough to cover the essentials”. (25)
Let's leave the last word to Father Ian Ker, Knox's relative, and inheritor of his old job at Oxford. “He was a very clever, brilliant man, who enjoyed satirising things that he thought were potentially harmful,” Ker told us for that Radio 4 programme. “He thought the power of the media in those early days of broadcasting was something that needed to be sent up a bit, and that he was giving a useful lesson to the public that you don't believe everything you hear on the wireless.”

*****
Appendix I: Did Welles copy Knox?

It wasn't only the British newspapers that excitedly reported Broadcasting the Barricades' reception. The New York Times told readers all about Knox's programme in its January 19, 1926 edition, heading the article “We Are Safe From Such Jesting”. (26)
The copy below this unfortunate headline explained that the foolish Brits' confusion had been possible only because the BBC had a monopoly on UK broadcasting. America, the NYT smugly pointed out, had a free market system which allowed listeners to flip through many rival stations, and so check the facts any one broadcaster was using.
“Large numbers of people were filled with anxiety,” the paper said of Knox's programme. “Such a thing as that could not happen in this country.”
Twelve years later, on October 30, 1938, Orson Wells' Mercury Theatre ensemble broadcast their adaptation of HG Wells' War of the Worlds, using many of the same fake news techniques which Knox had pioneered. “Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact,” screamed that same New York Times. “Many Flee Homes to Escape 'Gas Raid From Mars' - Phone Calls Swamp Police at Wells Fantasy”. (27)
The panic in America dwarfed anything that had happened in Britain, but was created by much the same means.
Like Knox, Welles used a series of breaking news reports to convey a sense of urgency in his story and, like Knox, he cut in and out of a pre-programmed dance band broadcast to mimic the on-air chaos of covering a sudden emergency.
What's less clear is whether Welles and his producers were consciously aping Knox's broadcast, or had simply hit on a very similar idea for themselves.
Speaking after Broadcasting the Barricades airing in 1926, a BBC spokesman claimed its impact as a definite British first. “Such a misunderstanding has never been created in any other country in which wireless is employed,” he told the Birmingham Mail. (2Cool
Answering newsmen's questions after his own programme, Welles took exactly the opposite line. “The technique I used was not original with me, or peculiar to the Mercury Theater's presentation,” he said. “It was not even new.” (29)
That's interesting, but hardly conclusive. There's no record of Welles visiting Europe before his father's death in 1930, and nothing in that brief quote which ties his own production directly to Knox.
For that, we must turn to the June 29, 1967 edition of the Radio Times, where a BBC correspondent in America called Leonard Miall writes about War of the Worlds producer John Houseman.
“Houseman, as a boy had been in school in England,” Miall writes. “And had remembered a production he had heard on April 16, 1926, just before the General Strike. This was Father Ronald Knox's famous broadcast about a fictitious riot of the unemployed in London.
“Houseman was therefore well aware of the kind of panic really effective broadcasting could create. As a result, he went to considerable lengths to announce before his production of The War of the Worlds that it was entirely a fictional account.” (30)
I'd love to claim Miall's letter as definitive proof that Welles' hoax was directly inspired by Knox, but I think that would be a step too far.
The fact that Miall is three months out in the transmission date of Knox's programme is just one reason to doubt his reliability. War of the Worlds expert John Gosling insists Houseman was in England only between 1911 and 1918, and so couldn't possibly have heard Knox's programme. (30)
As we've seen, though, Broadcasting the Barricades did make headlines in America, and it's perfectly possible that Welles or Houseman saw these reports and filed the information away for future reference.
All we can say for sure is that Broadcasting the Barricades went out on the air nearly 13 years before War of the Worlds, and that it's therefore Knox, not Welles, who deserves to be recognised as the world's first great radio hoaxer.

*****
Appendix II: Ronald Knox the detective writer
For all his frustration at people missing the satirical point of his Sherlock Holmes lecture, Knox evidently had a lot of affection for the classic English detective story.
He wrote six such stories of his own between 1926 and 1937, eking out his modest stipend as an Oxford chaplain with titles like The Viaduct Murder, The Footsteps at the Lock and The Body in the Silo. These feature a private detective called Miles Bredon, whose work investigating suspicious claims for an insurance company drives the plots along. Often, Bredon's wife Angela is involved too, allowing Knox to demonstrate his wit as the couple affectionately banter with one another.
Breton's adventures fit the era's prevailing fashion for detective tales which set out a logical puzzle for the reader to solve, dribbling out clues as the genteel story proceeds through idyllic English countryside.
Agatha Christie remains the most famous writer in this style, which follows a set of conventions as strict and formal as any Japanese haiku. Knox's tales were no exception.
“Characteristically, his plots are mathematical, rather like Times crossword puzzles,” says the Ronald Knox Society.
Evelyn Waugh makes a similar point in his 1959 biography of Knox, praising above all the stories' scrupulous logic. “Very few women have ever enjoyed them,” he adds.
In 1930, Knox became a founding member of The Detection Club, joining writers like GK Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers on what was then the Mount Olympus of crime fiction. “Their books, in one form or another sold into the millions, and in a dozen languages,” Raymond Chandler writes in The Simple Art of Murder. “These were the people who fixed the form and established the rules.”
Knox made his own contribution to those rules in a tongue-in-cheek 1929 essay called Ten Commandments for Detective Fiction. He begins by giving his definition of what was then required for a true detective story.
“A detective story must have as its main interest the unravelling of a mystery,” he writes. “A mystery whose elements are clearly presented to the reader at an early stage of the proceedings, and whose nature is such as to arouse curiosity, a curiosity which is gratified at the end.
“As with the acrostic, as with the cross-word competition, honourable victory can be achieved only if the clues were 'fair'.” (33)
His commandments set out the various cheats an unscrupulous writer might employ to put his readers off the scent, and explain why each is unacceptable.
Number two, for example, rules out all supernatural intervention as means of solving the mystery. Number eight requires that all clues available to the detective be instantly produced for the reader's inspection too.
Number nine calibrates exactly how stupid the detective's slower friend - “the Watson”, as Knox calls him - is allowed to be. The answer, it turns out, is just slightly stupider than the average reader.
Knox also cautions (in rule five) that no Chinamen must be allowed to feature in any detective story. “If you are turning over the pages of a book and come across some mention of 'the slit-like eyes of Chin Loo', you had best put it down at once,” he very sensibly warns. “It is bad.”

To hear all ten of Knox's rules enuniciated by Bob Sinfield - Radio 4's own voice of Ronald Knox - click the prompt at the bottom of this BBC page.

*****
Appendix III: Dealing with the complaints
Stuart Hibberd joined the BBC as a radio announcer in 1923, going on to become one of the corporation’s most famous voices of World War II. In 1950, he published a memoir called This – Is London, which includes his account of dealing with frightened listeners’ calls on the night Broadcasting the Barricades went out.
“I was on duty at Savoy Hill, and, as Knox was speaking from Edinburgh, I did not listen at the beginning, but soon so many ‘phone calls from apprehensive listeners were coming through that I had to listen.
“Obviously the whole thing was a ‘spoof’; you had only to hear sentences like ‘the mob are now swarming into Hyde Park and throwing ginger-beer bottles at the ducks on the Serpentine’ to realise this; after all, it was night, and bitterly cold, with ice and snow everywhere in the London area. But still the telephone calls came in, and we had to put out a reassuring announcement at the end.
“Sometime later that evening a call was put through to me from a commercial traveller, who told me that he had only just got home after a very long day. He found the wireless switched on, both his wife and his sister-in-law, who was staying with them, drunk in the sitting room, and his best bottle of brandy empty under the table.
“‘What are you going to do about it?’ he inquired.”



Sources
1) Broadcasting the Barricades original script. (BBC archives).
2) Daily Chronicle, January 18, 1926.
3) Daily Graphic, January 18, 1926.
4) Ariel, June 1937.
5) Hoaxes and Scams, by Carl Sifakis (Michael O'Mara Books, 1994).
6) Daily Telegraph, January 19, 1926.
7) The Riot That Never Was (BBC Radio 4, June 16, 2005).
Cool Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes, by Ronald Knox (www.diogenes-club.com/studies.htm).
9) The Life of the Right Reverend Ronald Knox, by Evelyn Waugh (Chapman & Hall, 1959).
10) Sherlock Peoria (www.sherlockpeoria.net).
11) A Social History of British Broadcasting, by Paddy Scannell & David Cardiff (Wiley Blackwell, 1991).
12) Evening Standard, January 19, 1926.
13) Daily Mail, January 18, 1926.
14) Evening Standard, January 18, 1926.
15) The Times, January 18, 1926.
16) Daily Express, January 18, 1926.
17) Daily Sketch, January 18, 1926.
1Cool The Tablet, January 23, 1926.
19) Weekly Scotsman, January 23, 1926.
20) Daily News, January 18, 1926.
21) Irish Times, January 18, 1926.
22) Daily Sketch, January 19, 1926.
23) BBC archives.
24) The Times, April 11, 1966.
25) The Times, August 26, 1957.
26) New York Times, January 19, 1926.
27) New York Times, October 31, 1938.
2Cool Birmingham Mail, January 18, 1926.
29) Radio Guide, 1938 (quoted on www.wellesnet.com/?p=296).
30) Radio Times, June 29, 1967.
31) John Gosling's War of The Worlds website
(www.war-ofthe-worlds.co.uk/broadcasting_the_barricade_ronald_knox_2.h tm).
32) The Simple Art of Murder, by Raymond Chandler (reprinted in Chandler's Pearls Are a Nuisance (Pan Books, 1980)).
33) Ten Commandments for Detective Fiction, by Ronald Knox
(http://gadetection.pbworks.com/Ronald-Knox's-Ten-Commandments-for-Det ective-Fiction).

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