Ethical Journalism During the Vietnam War Essay

1890 Words8 Pages
Ethical Journalism During the Vietnam War During the Vietnam War, a rift between government officials and journalists emerged. The American government felt the need, for various reasons, to censor many war developments. In an attempt to act ethically, the press fought the censors, trying their hardest to report the truth to the general public. Despite claims of bias and distortion by several prominent government officials, these journalists acted completely ethically, allowing the general public to obtain a fair, informed opinion. The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) provides a very clear and thorough Code of Ethics, which serves as a good definition of ethical journalism. According to this code, an ethical journalist…show more content…
Researcher Clarence Wyatt described this incident vividly. The South Vietnamese had captured and beaten a prisoner. In front of several reporters, Brigadier General Nguyen Loan, who was chief of the National Police, shot and killed the prisoner at point blank range without saying a word. Unbeknownst to Loan, there were cameras rolling as he executed the prisoner. Eddie Adams, a photographer from the Associated Press, took a picture that would later prove to be one of the most memorable images from the war. As if that was not enough, Vo Suu, cameraman for NBC correspondent Howard Tuckner, shot film of the incident. The photo and the film would dramatically shock the general public (Wyatt 165-167). By reporting this simple event without sensationalizing anything, Adams and Suu gave a classic demonstration of the ethical nature of American Journalism. As Wyatt states, The photograph and film speak of the presence and characteristics of American journalism. Adams, Tuckner, and Suu were skilled reporters with an instinct for the dramatic incident. The pictures they shot that day were valued examples of that sort of reporting. Adams won almost every possible award that year, and [NBC News executive producer Robert] Northshield hailed the film as "an important and powerful statement of the reality of war" (166-167). Clearly, this was an example of ethical, mindful journalism. As a result the public was better informed of the reality and emotional issues of war. They

More about Ethical Journalism During the Vietnam War Essay

Open Document