Term 3 Paper: The Media and Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a war of mass destruction, leaving Vietnam to become bitterly divided and claiming the many lives of Vietnamese civilians as well as American soldiers. Out of all the wars in American history, the Vietnam War was the first war to be broadly televised and covered by the media. It came to be known as the first “Television War”. Journalists began to pour into Vietnam from all over the nation, to cover the lives of the American Soldiers as well as Vietnamese civilians. As television brought horrendous images of the war into American living rooms, the perception of an American solider as a hero slowly became the image of the American enemy. Thus, the media is a major factor that resulted to the Vietnamization of the conflict, following the end of the war during the fall of Saigon.
Television was the main source of news for the American public, and perhaps the most influence on the public opinion of the war. A study showed that “In 1950, only nine percent of homes owned a television. By 1966, this rose to ninety-three percent.” (McLaughlin). As television popularity rose, Americans began to depend of television as an accurate source of how they understood the war. In addition, no censorship was established to limit the amount of information being put out to the American public. In the website article, Vietnam: A Censored War, John a. Cloud states “the fact that there was no military censorship, there was still censorship among the government” (Cloud). Due to lack of censorship, journalists could follow the military into combat and report their observations without formal censorship. Therefore, journalists that experienced the violent combat were able to present the public with more graphic images that the nation has ever seen. One of the most influential journalists was Walter Cronkite, “Cronkite turned against the war and called for peace negotiations.” (NPR). As an anchor for “CBS Evening News”,...
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