Emergency broadcast alert warns TV viewers that the world is going to end on Saturday

How did an Orange County preacher's warning that the world is ending tomorrow appear as an emergency broadcast alert on cable TV this week?

The short answer is "Orange County." This chain-store ridden megalopolis is well-known as a California enclave for far-right screwballs, atavistic televangelists, and new age grifters. It's the home of the late Wally George, Russian useful idiot Dana Rohrabacher, and the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The long answer is not as clear. A media relations rep for Cox Communications offered a vague explanation: "The radio station that sent the alert didn't turn off their programming when the alert ended. For a short time, some heard programming that was on the radio." But that doesn't explain the "EMERGENCY ALERT" banner that accompanied the frantic, grim audio warnings, such as "realize this, that in the last days extremely violent times will come," and "the term means hard. Harsh. Hard to deal with. Vicious. Dangerous. Menacing."

The warning seems to be related to the Planet X, or Niberu, conspiracy, which was started by a woman in Wisconsin named Nancy Lieder.

From The Telegraph:

Ms Lieder claims to be a conduit for aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system, 39.17 light years from Earth, who have warned her about the Nibiru catastrophe.

The conspiracy theory hasn't gone away, with so-called Christian numerologist David Meade claiming Planet X is heading in our direction.

Meade believes October could see the start The Rapture and a seven-year tribulation period of widescale natural disasters.

Mr. Meade is a popular figure among evangelical Christians.

From The Washington Post:

David Meade, the self-described "specialist in research and investigations," has earned a fair amount of publicity online for predicting that catastrophic events would soon befall Earth.

Among his claims: On Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, a constellation β€” a sign prophesied in the Book of Revelation β€” would reveal itself in the skies over Jerusalem, signaling the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. Meade believes that by the end of October, the world may enter what's called a seven-year tribulation period, a fairly widespread evangelical belief that for seven years, catastrophic events would happen.

He also claims that a planet called Nibiru, which has been debunked by NASA as a hoax, is headed toward Earth. When it passes the planet later this year, Meade claims, catastrophe in the form of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves and others would ensue.

Mr. Meade is smart. History has shown that when a religious leader predicts the end of the world, he gains new followers (and his existing followers cling to him even more ardently) after the doomsday date passes without consequence. He'll make more money than ever before!

Of course, some of his smarter followers might feel cheated if the world doesn't end this year. To keep them in his flock, he's modified his message: "The world is not ending, but the world as we know it is ending … A major part of the world will not be the same the beginning of October."