I remember as a young girl hearing about the famous 1938 broadcast of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, a broadcast that caused at least a few listeners to panic when they believed the Halloween-weekend broadcast was real and that Martians were genuinely invading America. “How gullible can people be?” I thought.
This week, I got my answer. I thought this story was a joke at first, but apparently NPR’s new Fourth of July tradition of tweeting the Declaration of Independence on Twitter spooked a few partisan-minded Twitter users, whose responses made it clear they weren’t familiar with the document. They said things like:
• “So, NPR is calling for revolution. Interesting way to condone the violence while trying to sound ‘patriotic.’ Your implications are clear.”
• “Propaganda is that all you know how? (sic) Try supporting a man who wants to do something about the Injustice in this country.”
• And someone else just thought the tweets meant “NPR has been hacked, tweeting like crazy!”
No matter which side of the political aisle you’re on, I hope we can all agree that the tweeting of the Declaration of Independence on Twitter shouldn’t provoke outrage in anyone. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at those who thought it was a modern-day call for “revolution,” but I did decide that I’m joining the chorus of those who suggest we all take a moment on the Fourth of July each year to read the Declaration of Independence. A Library of Congress website page about the DOI is available here, and I plan to have this handy for sharing next year!