The Impact of the Media on the Vietnam War Essay

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The Impact of the Media on the Vietnam War This essay will discuss to what degree the media can be blamed for the United States’ loss in the Vietnam conflict ending 1975. It will be based predominantly on key written resources on the subject, but it will also contain - by means of an interview - certain first-hand observations from a Vietnam War veteran. For the sake of conciseness, and in order to focus the bulk of the content on the main topic, this essay will make certain assumptions. Most importantly, the essay assumes that the conflict in Vietnam was, indeed, lost by the US. It also presupposes that � due to the political climate in the US � the war itself was unavoidable. Finally, the essay takes for granted…show more content…
“Whatever the motives for conflict, they are incorporated in individual attitudes and expressed in popular opinion.” (Albig 1939, 139) It has often been argued that Defence Secretary Robert McNamara “has done more to shape that conflict than anyone outside the Viet Cong” (Kennedy 1993, 93). This is an important illustration of the power of the media; through the media, “The domino theory [was] the dominant interpretation of events in Indochina” (Schulzinger 1998, 88). {mosgoogle center} By nature, the role of the media is to tell the people what is going on. In the case of the Vietnam war, the most important role became to inform the people ‘at home’ how the boys in Indochina were doing. The current consensus is � with the restrictions imposed on the US troops in Vietnam � that the US never had a realistic chance in the Vietnam conflict. As one Vietnam veteran puts it: it was the “politicians [who] lost the war in Vietnam, by declaring we couldn’t go into Cambodia and Laos, which is where the NVA strongholds were.” (Melnick 2002) While political issues like these were slowly demoralising the soldiers fighting the war, the media were still telling a heavily rose-coloured version of the ‘truth’. When the television images were shown in America before 1968, the editors had policies about what to show: More specifically, there were guidelines that were designed to
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