Media Coverage and the Vietnam War: A Literature Review Thus, for the first years of the war, the media coverage could be said to be a direct result of the American public's thirst for information (Mendalbaum 161).
Few events in U.S. history had the dramatic and lasting impact on American culture as did the Vietnam War. Many historians and commentators attribute the war's outcome and legacy to the treatment it received by the mainstream media. A review of a sampling of the literature on this subject reveals a very diverse, sometimes acrimonious, view of the media's influence on the Vietnam War.
In Michael Mandelbaum's Vietnam, The Television War, he discusses the convergence of television news coverage and the Vietnam war in the early 1960s. As of 1963, for the first time, most Americans were looking to national network news on television for information on current world events (Mendalbaum 159). As the conflict in Vietnam escalated, the networks devoted more coverage to the fighting. The American public, at the time by and large supporting the war effort, tuned in nightly and kept the ratings high. The news networks were making more money as a result and had more resources to devote to the coverage. This relationship spiral upward, just like American ...
Daniel Hallin, professor of Communication at the University of California at San Diego, presented a paper at a conference on American Media and Wartime Coverage in 2003. Hallin eloquently and insightfully delineates the influence of the media on the war, as well as the influences the war had on the media. Many conservative critics, says Hallin, contend that the media turned the American public against the war, and that is how the war was lost.
Hallin believes that the media was actually quite supportive of the war until sometime after the Tet Offensive in 1968. He states that it is more accurate to pinpoint the decline of media support for the war to decline in the morale of U.S. soldiers fighting the war in Vietnam itself. At that time, the media stopped reporting military operations as victories, regardless of how successful they were. Further, since this was the war fought in America's living room, it is significant that the press was not censured by the military, even though it was greatly sanitized by the networks to be suitable for airing over the public airways.
George C. Herring's review of PBS' Vietnam: A Television and AIM's Television's Vietnam, two made for TV retrospectives of the Vietnam War offers cogent analysis of the media coverage of the war and the influence it had on the American society. The two reviewed productions emphasize the polarizing effect that the war on Americans, but also on how the media's portrayal of the war at the time influenced the way American's felt. As Herring points out, the entire warfare in Vietnam, all thirty plus years of it, was a mainstay on the radar of the national media. Certainly, the last ten years of the conflict were thoroughly chronicled to a very interested audience (Herring 1123).
Herring is quick to acknowledge some of the virtues of the vast media coverage, such as the instantaneous creation of invaluable historical…
Thus, for the first years of the war, the media coverage could be said to be a direct result of the American public's thirst for information (Mendalbaum 161).
Media: Power and Influence on Public Perception of the Vietnam War The power of the media has long been understood, and part of that power is in shaping popular opinion. The media can show emotionally poignant images, give a platform to expert authorities and together these two factors can influence the minds and hearts of people. This was something that was particularly true during the era of the Vietnam War, sometimes
Vietnam War and the Media The Vietnam War and the United States media engaged in a complex relationship in the 1960s and 1970s, and for the first time, Americans witnessed the influence of the media on the outcomes of an unpopular war. The core of their association was based upon the necessity to keep the general public informed on the events of the war and the devastation experienced by American soldiers,
To that end, the northern Vietnamese forces and the Viet Cong in the south were looking to actually unify with the southern portion of this country -- which is evinced by the fact that shortly after the end of the war Vietnam was indeed united once again. Although this conception of the significance of the war is primarily political in nature, U.S. military forces could have used a more
In comparison to Kovic, Reynolds joined the war precisely because she was acquainted with its unjustness and with the suffering that it provoked. She too had initially been inclined to support the war, particularly considering that her brother was already on the front and her father performed efforts with the purpose of having more Americans involved in the conflict. However, as time passed, she realized that the war was immoral
Today, the modern media are so thoroughly integrated into our lives that the ubiquitous and instantaneous availability of information means that the media now influence, rather than merely report the news. By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the modern media have contributed to the outcome of national elections and they have been substantially responsible for the success of political coupes that toppled dictatorships and
Vietnam: An Unpopular War VIETNAM WAR 12 The paper takes a look into the unpopularity of the Vietnam War and the failed strategies, which resulted in the defeat of the U.S. army in Vietnam. A lot of news and opinions exist regarding the Vietnam War, which tells us about its unpopularity (Writer Thoughts). Several reasons exist about this specific topic and this paper addresses those reasons. Different scholars have put forward arguments regarding the