Media's Role In The Vietnam War

Decent Essays
Typically known for its intensiveness and numerous deaths, the Vietnam War was a time of manic in the 1950s to 1970s in both Vietnam and America. Technological advances were very prevalent in this time period with cameras and film, making reporting a major aspect in the war for the first time. Therefore, journalism, film, and other forms of media played a largely influential role in the attitudes and effects of the Vietnam War. To begin the war, the media’s effect was established. Attitudes generally leaned toward a more positive approach (“Media and the War”). More of a support system for the troops existed, with an encouragement for their return from a quick war. Americans also enjoyed the fact that they were now informed about the events …show more content…
At their maximum, there were around five hundred reporters in Vietnam in 1968, compared to only about 40 in 1964 (”media and the Vietnam War”). Along with the Americans, many other countries sent journalists to Vietnam too; most countries with media services that could withstand the war sent staff to report on the war (”media and the Vietnam War”). These countries were perhaps eager to match the United States’ success with media involvement and to inform their own country on the potential spread of communism in Vietnam. Most of the journalists worked for certain newspaper or film companies to gain stories for them, however some were “stringers,” freelance journalists hired just to do this specific assignment (”media and the Vietnam War”). Additionally, the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office, or JUSPAO, was the connection between the military and reporters. JUSPAO and other military media outlets had the goal to inform and “present a positive version of events in order to shore up morale among troops and ensure support for the war” (”media and the Vietnam War”). In order to do this, the JUSPAO tended to underestimate battles by making the Americans seem stronger than they actually were and ignored negative aspects of the war such as attack frequency and American death count (”media and the Vietnam War”). Although large amounts of media …show more content…
Johnson had a large influence in the media. Johnson introduced the “credibility gap” in his time of presidency, caused by his inability to speak honestly to the country about overseas occurrences (Dallek, “Lyndon Johnson”). Therefore, Americans could not truly tell what was really happening. With the credibility gap, Johnson tried to keep public discussion away from the war in order to keep attention on his reforms as he believed conservatives would kill his proposals (Dallek, “Lyndon Johnson”). As stated by Robert Dallek, “he escalated the war without consulting those who would have to fight and support it.” This shows that the president’s altered information resulted in a lot of disapproval of those who really had to go through the war. Johnson’s inability to be truthful and his shielding of information from the public only added more fuel to the rising flame of the war’s

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