History is replete with examples of media-created scares and panics. This book presents more than three dozen studies of media scares from the 17th century to the 21st century, including hoaxes perpetrated via newspapers, radio, television and cyberspace. From the 1835 batmen on the Moon hoax to more recent bird flu scares and Hurricane Katrina myths, this book explores hoaxes that highlight the impact of the media on our lives and its tendency to sensationalize. Most of the hoaxes covered occurred in the United States, though incidents from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Australia are featured as well. Several are global in scope, revealing the power global media wields.
Robert E. Bartholomew has taught sociology in Australia at The Flinders University of South Australia and James Cook University in Queensland. A former broadcast journalist and contributor to news organizations such as the Associated Press and United Press International, he currently teaches at Botany College in Auckland, New Zealand. Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of the science magazine The Skeptical Inquirer. The author of several books, he has also written numerous articles on a variety of topics including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking, films, and media literacy. He has appeared on CNN, the History Channel, and the National Geographic Channel.