Media influence in Vietnam BY jetports In the sass’s the US was pushed Into a large scale Involvement In the crisis in Vietnam. This crisis called for thousands of men to be called to duty for the greater good of democracy. While the war was taking place nearly 8,000 miles off the US shores, it was also unfolding in front of the eyes of the US citizen on national television. For the first time in warfare, the outcome of what unfolded on television instead of what unfolded on the battlefield played a larger role in determining the victor than the opposing force.
This is the first but in no way the last time that media ill have a determining effect on the outcome of the war. Many people question the true effect that the US media had on the outcome of the war because they don’t realize how much of the war the American public was truly seeing. As the war was beginning to unfold, the average American family was centered around the television. Families back home could sit in front of the TV at any time they desired and see a whole days worth of fighting.
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At the height of escalation, Robert Elegant served as foreign correspondent for Newsweek. “War has always been beastly, but the Vietnam war was the first war exposed to television cameras and seen in rustically every home, often In Miming color. Not surprisingly this close-up view of devastation and suffering, repeated daily, strengthened the growing desire for peace”l. Through his own personal experience, Robert saw firsthand the effects of media on the war. By seeing this daily occurrence of media coverage, him and many others can agree that it is to blame for US defeat.
At the beginning of the war United States reporters and correspondents set out on relaying American progress in Vietnam back to the homegrown. As the war continued, attempting to send good news home showed to be nearly Impossible. Even with the Increase of media coverage, the U. S. Reporters weren’t even able to accomplish what they had originally set out to do in the first place, instead they practically diminished what little support remained. If anything what they accomplished was the exact opposite of what they set out to do.
As Robert Elegance’s corresponding continued, much of what he and other reporters captured stayed the same. “The best of their reporting accurately conveyed the horror of war. ” The news that would reach the living rooms of Americans everywhere would be the news of loss and tragedy In the Jungles of Vietnam. In a time when President Johnson needed public support the most he lost it, thus creating a war on two fronts, one against the Vietnamese, and the other against his own people.
With a war for public support beginning, President Johnson and many other prominent United States political figures were beginning to worry. Johnson knew that if he was to lose all of his public support then he would surely lose the war. George Moss, a professor at City college, has a much different viewpoint on the effect of media. Moss believes that the media had no effect on the outcome, the main cause for the loss was distrust n Johnson. During the Et offensive, much of US public support declined. “Many Americans had turned against the war and had distrusted Johnson long before Et”al.
Before the Et offensive had occurred, public support was rather high but once the war had heightened in the late sass’s Johnson had begin to see his lack of support. Moss’ theory that distrust In Johnson had caused the US defeat In Vietnam Is quickly which is simply the misinterpretation of facts and use of devastating footage. “Wars have been badly reported in the past. Facts have been MIS-stated, and their interpretation has been biased. Emotions have been deliberately inflamed, and the reporters have ridden to fame on waves of misinterpretation.
But never before war coming from the media, the loss of public support can be directly related to the coverage from reporters and correspondents. Many people may say that the reason that Vietnam was lost was because of poor military or political planning when entering Vietnam, without the media however the people would have never seen how much of a devastating impact these flaws caused. “The United States lost the Vietnam War because flawed political and military strategic thinking had trapped it in a instant stalemate that would never have sustained popular support. This may have been the case, however without the coverage of the media citizens would have had no way of being informed of these flaws and public support may have never diminished because of it. “At any given moment, a million images were available to the camera’s lens. ” When Americans were able to see what was actually happening in Vietnam because of their half hearted politics and military strategy. You may be able to argue that the military and political set ups of the war were flawed but they will ultimately trace back to being brought to light by media coverage.