American Media's Role In The Vietnam War

Improved Essays
The American media played a key role in the wavering support and opinions of the Vietnam War for the American people. The American media’s role during the Vietnam War was immense, however in order to further understand their complete role we must ask a more in-depth question. How did the media portray the war over the 8-9 years we were involved? It is known that as the war progressed more people believed that it was ultimately a mistake to send troops to Vietnam, but what caused this growing belief that the war was a slip-up? Did the government create rules to censor info coming from the war zone, or were embedded reporters allowed to report on any and all aspects of the war? The 20th century was a big part in our history in terms of …show more content…
The news coverage of this war stunned and dismayed the American public which eroded support of the war effort. Before the Tet Offensive it was difficult for the media to get their stories out of South Vietnam, but with the horrific scenes from the war, stories moved from the battlefields and into American homes in a matter of a day or two. One of the most famous photos that the media used to make American people question the War was a photo taken by Eddie Adams. This photo was taken on the streets of Cholon, the incident took place on merely the second day of the Tet Offensive. Adam’s picture shows a Viet Cong war prisoner in a checkered shirt, whom was dragged from a building onto the street, with a soldier placing a pistol to the prisoner’s head. This was commonly used as a method of interrogation, however what happened next, a mere split second caught by a camera, shook the world. The soldier pulled the trigger, the camera caught the exact moment the bullet entered the man’s head. This picture, as well as other pictures and videos that followed, were used in the United States for the anti-war movements. The media portrayed the Tet Offensive as a loss when “In truth, the war in Vietnam was lost on the propaganda front, in great measure due to the press 's …show more content…
A War that started out as a war to prevent the spread of Communism turned horribly into a war against the media. Unlimited access for reporters and lack of censorship during the war seemed harmless to the War effort however, once the images of the horrific scenes started pouring into the States, support plummeted and the American people started viewing their soldiers as nothing more than murderers. The main issue was stated by a Captain Bishop, “The problem was that the reporters often had little to go on, and events were confusing. But facing the need to give impact to their products, reporters—usually by inference—projected their own concerns,” (Bishop). Bishop said journalists also had tendencies to give false information by quoting the opinions of “officials” or “observers” and often the “observers” would refer to media people themselves and the “observations” were nothing more than speculations. Overall unlimited power of the media during the Vietnam War caused not only played a key role in the change of support; it also did excessive damage to the

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