Fake News Broadcast Sends Viewers into a Panic

by | March 16, 2010 at 9:23 AM | TV News

Oppostion supporters in Tbilisi, Georgia, Criticized a TV station over a Mock Newscast (Photo: Vano Shlamov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

Oppostion supporters in Tbilisi, Georgia, Criticized a TV station over a Mock Newscast (Photo: Vano Shlamov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

It might seem silly that Orson Welles successfully scared Americans into believing aliens were invading planet Earth when he broadcast ‘The War of the Worlds’ in 1938, but it appears similar circumstances — minus any alien encounters — occurred in the country of Georgia Saturday night when a TV station broadcast a fake news story claiming Russia was invading.

Heart attacks, rushes on grocery stores and evacuations ensued following the mock broadcast, which was claimed to be intended as ‘satire,’ reports the New York Times.

Panic ensued after Imedi television aired a piece of political satire, taped on the usual evening news set, warning that fighting had broken out in the capital and that there were incoming Russian bombers. This was followed by images of tanks and falling bombs.

“If you hear that war started, of course you run for the bank machine, then run home, it’s natural,” a local taxi driver told the Times.

Political infighting has now broken out amongst rival parties, with one side claiming the broadcast was the work of Georgia’s president in an attempt to discredit them.

The fake broadcast hit close to home for many in Georgia as the country battled with Russia as recently as 2008.