Role of Media in Vietnam There Can Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Role of Media in Vietnam

There can be various reasons for a nation to get involved in war and conflict of cultures is considered to be the major reason. Silence can be men's greatest enemy and history is evident that many wars are fought to break vicious circle of silence, pain and agony. It is not easy for humans to get out of their comfort zone and raise their voice against the injustice, unethical practices and even government policies. When a situation comes where individuals realize that human spirit no longer existed and their self-esteem is being engulfed by the so called principals of justice in the hands of law; this point is the verge of tolerance, forbearance and moderation and ultimately gives rise to uncertainty and turbulence.

Nations are in continuous thirst of power, territorial usufruct and control over resources to gain economic control. In this battle of power and control many nations survive and many suffered economically, socially and psychologically. The buried truth about these wars and destruction is its effect on human which can be sensed long after the wars are conducted. There are many factors which influence humans during the time of war and uncertainty. Among all these factors, major role have been played by media through its various channels and modes. Media has to play the major role in educating people about the surrounding and making them aware to take wise decisions for their survival and progress. Timing plays a critical role in the process of information flow and the level of information to be transmitted is also very critical.

In the years of 1964 to 1972 Vietnam War a result of the military action taken by the most powerful nation i.e. Americans against nationalist revolution in the agricultural cottage industry-based economy. In this phase United States developed an antiwar movement where the gap between the government and people were narrowed due to the critical role of media in keeping every home of the region informed with the war outreach and outcome (Small, 1994).


Among many remonstration that had evolved from the severe bloodshed of the Vietnam War, the most talked about and controversial was the bold, aggressive and broad contribution of media during the period which turned America against the war. Media uncovered how the military action targeted women and children for the massive killing, peasants land were destroyed with bulldozers damaging their crops and lands, how they were being killed with poisoned water and how children running in streets begging for food became target of military abuse and mockery. How far the media had played its just role during the time of war is a controversial topic and various views are presented by authors, journalist, columnist and analyst in their literature.

Professor Daniel Hallin of the University of California at San Diego researched deeply on the role of media on Vietnam War and made an attempt to unveil the truth behind the black prints of news papers and image clips telecasted on television. The study of Hallin illustrates that the impact of TV more specifically and concludes that the war footage displayed on TV with much relaxation from government and military sources and broadcasting laws and policies which might offend soldiers friends and families. According to the findings of Hallin the thrive against war was actually not the result of the TV footages but actually it was caused by the public, majorly the anti-war movement Vietnam veterans publishing and publicly speaking against the war that propelled mainstream media to a sarcastic views about war and its coverage (Mott, 2005).

Media Unveiling Public Interest Front

Information and news presented on the local TV, press and internet news corporate blogs are often filtered from government agencies. There might be many beneficial outcomes from hiding the complete story from public as it can create anarchy and restlessness in the country. On contrary, confiding the truth can also create side effects in shape of people aggression, violence and protest against government and official body. In the case of Vietnam War, the government was working in the best interest of the people and makes them look what was actually happening around them. Media coverage of Vietnam War not only unveiled the reality of the war but also demonstrated that how American foreign policy was being conducted. The images of ruthless killing were displayed in the media which was happening throughout Vietnam in number of villages. Public were becoming more and more aware of the causes and effects of the war and eventually they started questioning about the truths, government policies and their action plan when the Pentagon paper was published which evident U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war from 1945 to 1968 (McLaughlin). Vietnam War thus through media has pictured the terror of war to the western societies and they started questioning about it and were interested in knowing about it (Donohue, Tichenor, & Olien, 1995).

Thus, media had played a dynamic role during the war time in creating new front called people front where general public were being informed and aware about the ups and downs and they were allowed to ask question and raise their voice against any anti-social activity. With the advent of people front, government has to make sure that they agree with the general public views their actions are in consistent with the people's opinion. In this era media had played a pivotal role in bringing public voices in the mainstream and aligning the government actions according to the consensus of people (Halberstam, Sheehan, & Arnett, 1996).

Media brought the reality in people's doorstep through various programs that showed true picture and created the sensation of anti-war among the public. There were shows conducted on TV that talked about President Johnson's policies like the show called 'That was the weak that was'. Popular programs were run on the legendary American frontier hero and characterized colonials as Viet Cong and English as Americans (Moyar, 2006).

Reflection on Vietnam War- Media Sources and Political Views

The Vietnam War was popularly known as military conflict. It was a combat between the North Vietnam sustained by communist allies and the South Vietnam supported by United States and other anti-communist groups. USA was supposedly involved in the war to prevent South Vietnam to be taken over by the communist party of North Vietnam (Mermin, 1999). Speeches of Martin Luther King uncovered the wildest devastation that took place in the consequential outcome of this war where thousands of young men, middle aged man and old people were send to fight for their rights and religious and cultural freedom. Thousands of children and women were killed during this battle (Boylan, 2007). Vietnam was able to get its independence from France and Japan before the communist revolution in China. However, they were successful to quote themselves as Free State in the American Declaration of Independence under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh but never got any recognition instead American started to support France in their invasion of former colony.

Martin Luther King through his five suggestive measures tried to clear the image of America as a proponent of war in Vietnam which is reflected in the international front due to the action plan taken by the government policies and military action against humanitarianism. The world has seen America responsible of Vietnam human and material destruction and maneuvering in the region for its interest and power. The five suggestive strategies to be adopted by American immediately to clear its image internationally are:

1. Halt on the bombing in South and North Vietnam.

2. Creating the atmosphere of negotiation and bilateral discussion by putting cease fire on the military action.

3. Preventive measures to be taken to stop the attacks in Southeast Asia and building of army in Thailand and meddling in the Laos.

4. Acceptance of the fact that National Liberation front has a substantial role in the South Vietnam and should initiate with negotiations.

5. Fix a time when all foreign troops would be withdrawn as per the Geneva agreement.

The above points have indicated that majority of the public, general people, political bodies, journalist, authors and analyst were supporting peace in the region and they didn't want to have war in any place. The revolutionary spirit against communism and protection of democratic doctrine has actually resulted in the devastation of mankind where poverty, misery, helplessness and despair were much more dominating realities than the political and social belonging of its people.

Army of Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN) is sometimes referred to as Southern Vietnamese Army (SVA) was the military force of Southern Vietnam which existed till the fall of Saigon. There are many books and publications found on the real life stories of the people who experienced the war either as becoming victim of it or as part of the military forces of ARVN. One such story is narrated by Xiaobing Li's book called 'Voices from the Vietnam War: Stories from Americans,…

Sources Used in Document:


Donohue, G, Tichenor, P, & Olien, C. (1995). A Guard Dog Perspective on the Role of Media. Journal of Communication, 45(2), 115 -- 132.

Halberstam, D, Sheehan, N, & Arnett, P. (1996). Once upon a distant war. Vintage Books: NY.

Hallin, D. (1984). The media, the war in Vietnam, and political support: a critique of the thesis an oppositional media. The Journal of Politics, 46, 1-24.

King, L. (1992). A Time to Break Silence. Retrieved June 16, 2011 from

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