If one asks instead how the United States got into Vietnam, attention must be paid to the enormous strength of the Cold War consensus in the early s shared by journalists and policymakers alike and to the great power of the administration to control the agenda and the framing of foreign affairs reporting. The basic policy governing how the US mission in Saigon handled these reporters reflected the way the administration of President John F. Kennedy conceived of the American role in the war. The Kennedy administration then went on the offensive, bombarding news editors in the US with complaints concerning the accuracy of the reporting of the Saigon press corporations.
If one asks instead how the United States got into Vietnam, attention must be paid to the enormous strength of the Cold War consensus in the early s shared by journalists and policymakers alike and to the great power of the administration to control the agenda and the framing of foreign affairs reporting.
The basic policy governing how the US mission in Saigon handled these reporters reflected the way the administration of President John F. Kennedy conceived of the American role in the war.
The Kennedy administration then went on the offensive, bombarding news Media impact on war in the US with complaints concerning the accuracy of the reporting of the Saigon press corporations. The chain of events led to the interesting conundrum of American periodicals attacking the accuracy of their own on-the-spot reporters.
According to the reporters, the solution was for the US to get rid of Diem or take over direct control of the war itself. Public Information Office PIO in Saigon had to admit, from partial information on an emotional subject, the reporting was "two-thirds accurate" and that the correspondents had done quite respectably.
Before the battle, the media had criticized Diem and argued for more U. After it, correspondents became steadily more convinced that they and, by extension, the American people were being lied to and withdrew, embittered, into their own community. By the leadership of both the U. The coup followed coup as South Vietnamese generals vied for power.
There were seven governments in Saigon during - three between 16 August and 3 September alone. The war in South Vietnam ground on and the communists were making serious headway. Following the recommendations of an internal report, the new U. Reporters had also become quite aware that all sides the South Vietnamese and American governments, the U.
The American public was also dissatisfied with the course of events in Vietnam. A January Gallup poll indicated that two out of three Americans agreed that the country would never form a stable government and that four out of five Americans felt that the communists were winning.
Few, however, wanted a unilateral U. The media exhibited the "Cold War myopia, ethnocentrism, cultural bias, and racism embedded in American ideology.
This was due in part to the short month period most newspeople spent on rotation in South Vietnam, providing little incentive for reporters to learn the language.
Department of Defense offered a brief introductory course for journalists on the history and culture of Vietnam, few attended it. Mission, MACV, and the media, there was little real discussion within the media as to why it was so difficult to convince the Vietnamese peasantry to join the side of the Saigon government.
Most depictions of [them] employed hateful imagery or reinforced racial stereotypes of the era associated with Asians. Is it aggression from North Vietnam or is it basically, a civil war between the peoples of South Vietnam?
And 4 What are the alternatives to our present policy in Vietnam? By August that number had jumped to Of the at the beginning of the year, only were Americans. Of the Americans present, 72 were more than thirty-one years old, and 60 of them were over the age of thirty-six. The same was true of the non-Americans.
All other correspondents had to present a letter from their editors stating that they represented a bona-fide news-gathering organization which would take responsibility for their conduct.
He maintained liaison between the embassy, MACV, and the press; publicized information to refute erroneous and misleading news stories; and sought to assist the Saigon correspondents in covering the side of the war most favorable to the policies of the U.
What began to change in The military found itself drawn progressively into politics, to the point that it had become as involved in "selling" the war to the American public as the political appointees it served.
The Tet Offensive, [ edit ] An American man and woman watching footage of the Vietnam War on television in their living room, February ByAmerica had officially been at war with Vietnam for four years, but U.
In JanuaryVietcong troops launched a surprise attack in South Vietnam, known as the Tet Offensive ; one of the points of attack was the U. Many Americans were unaware of the extent of the brutality involved in the war, but the Tet Offensive changed that, and American television cameras were available firsthand to record footage of the bombing of cities and the execution of prisoners of war.
During a bombing halt in SeptemberHarrison E. His reporting of the bombing damage to civilian targets forced the Pentagon to admit that accidents and "collateral damage" had occurred during the bombing campaign.
For his effort, Salisbury received heavy condemnation and criticism from his peers, the administration, and the Pentagon. Karanjia from India, and Agence France Presse maintained a bureau there throughout the war.
Burchett made no pretense of his communist sympathies, but his reporting of communist schools, arsenals, hospitals, administrative structure, and logistics made what Phillip Knightley called "intriguing reading.The media began to influence public opinion in a negative way, and that became a matter of concern to the government.
As the war became more intense, the numbers of press corps in South Vietnam increased rapidly. From just 40 in , the number jumped to in August In The News Media, Civil War, and Humanitarian Action, authors Larry Minear, Colin Scott, and Thomas Weiss refer to the influence of media as “ The Crisis Triangle, ” involving governments, news media, and humanitarian organizations (Minear 2).
Coverage of the war and its resulting impact on public opinion has been debated for decades by many intelligent media scholars and journalists, yet they are not the most qualified individuals to do so: the veterans are.
In any case, American disillusionment with the war was a product of many causes, of which the media was only one. What most undermined support for the war was simply the level of American casualties: the greater the increase in casualties, the lower the level of public support for the war.
The Vietnam War was divisive for America for many reasons, but the debate about the role of the media has become almost as controversial as.
The role of the media in the perception of the Vietnam War has been widely noted. Intense levels of graphic news coverage correlated with dramatic shifts of public opinion regarding the conflict, and there is controversy over what effect journalism had on support or opposition to the war, as well as the decisions that policymakers made in response.