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War And The Media Essay

2587 words - 10 pages

In times of War, the media plays a crucial role both in reporting, monitoring and giving updates. During the Vietnam War of 1955-1975, the American press played crucial roles of reporting until it ended up shifting its tone under the influence of occurrence of some events like the Tet Offensive, the My Lai Massacre, the bombing of Cambodia and leaking of Pentagon papers resulting into lack of trust in the press (Knightly 1975). From the beginning of the war up to present times there have been undying debates over the role of media in the war. The have been various criticisms over the American News Media’s actions and influences on the outcome of the war. The debate is embedded on the particular political assumptions perceived across the American political spectrum. Those criticizing the media for its role are of the opinion that the media misunderstood the United States military effort hence hindering succession of the American will in a war which was to be won.
By 1968, claims that the media had lost Vietnam became bond of contention among members of public, military officers, veterans and many political conservatives apparently indicating the crucial role played by the media in the war. Supporters of the media were of the opinion that the media had successfully played its role of as a watch dog of the citizens and the state by revealing the bitter truth of failed policies hence forcing legislatures to change the course of the war (Schmitz 2005). Although the two sides were contradicting about the role played by the media to the outcome of the war, they still believed that the media was a decisive actor in the war and making a shift in the coverage of the war also impacted public opinions. Both groups further believed that the Tet Offensive of 1968 was had also impacted on the war as all opinions and conclusions reached upon there after were as a direct outcome of it.
The United States diplomatic mission emphasized that the American press was only giving hand to the Saigon government in curbing communist aggression. It was clear that although the U.S press was briefing correspondents on the Vietnam War, they still followed the guidance and from the Vietnamese press within the country (Venanzi 1983). Therefore although the Vietnamese president had authority to impose restrictions on the press the American press ought to be allowed to report about the war because this was crucial in ensuring that the United State got the necessary support in order to keep on giving aid to the Saigon Government. According to Clarence Wyatt America had no independent press to gather information from Vietnam and it therefore had to rely discouraging realism. This weakened the moral support that America could have given (Taylor 1998).
During the war, American journalism reporters were believed to only give facts which were only relevant and official. According to Daniel Miller(2004) this believe stirred doomed objectivity giving way to official influence...

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