The Influence Of Television During The Vietnam War

Decent Essays
A war known as the “Living Room War,” represents the power of television reporting on people at home and its ability to turn the public opinion of the war quickly (Horten 37). The Vietnam War is a prime example of this war in the living room. At home, in America, people watched their newly bought televisions to see what was going on in Vietnam. The media was able to present the news as they saw it so the people’s opinion was typically changed based on what the media stated. This shows the influence of the new technology during the Vietnam era on the people of America. During the Vietnam era, there was a wave of new technology available that allowed American citizens and other people all over the world to get news in ways other than a newspaper. …show more content…
This show the world was changing due to the new technology that was available. Concordia University professor, Gerd Horton states, “By 1972, 48 percent of Americans chose television as their favorite news medium while only 21 percent preferred the newspapers” (Horten 32). This is evidence of the large shift of the use of different mediums of news during the Vietnam War. Now, there are smartphones and the internet, which are currently preferred methods of receiving the news along with television still. Along with the new technology came the effect of it on the people at home, on the other side of the world. Horten makes another important statement saying, “The news coverage in the U.S. media both reflected and accelerated this shift of public opinion but did not cause it” (Horten 36). This “shift of public opinion” entailed that the war was a grandiose mistake and was also “morally indefensible” (Horten 36). This opinion was created by the media as an opinion for people to have about the war. William L. Stearman is a Senior U.S Foreign Service Officer who also served as White House National Security under presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush who stated (“MCA&F.”) “U.S. media, …show more content…
The media was the only means of getting information about the war in the United States (except for letters from the soldiers) which means that the people relied on the media to show them what was happening considering the war was around the world. As the media changed their opinions on the war and showed other biases, so did the people. At first, the media showed a sense of nationalism as the United States stepped into the ring with North Vietnam. The media coverage of the war in America showed a morality factor in the beginning. Horten shows this by saying the media portrayed the U.S. entering the war as “Good, selfless Americans” protecting the South Vietnamese from the North Vietnamese (Horten 34). This showed America as the protector of the little country that is unable to protect itself which encouraged pride in many American citizens. However, the war took a turn as the army thought that it was winding down. The attacks on the news became more and more violent and graphic which scared many people making them reconsider their pride by replacing it with fear. For instance, the news once reported that the Vietcong had made their way into the American embassy when in reality, the Vietcong had made it in the wall but were immediately shot on site before entering the embassy (“Media’s”). This scared people a lot because they had been led to believe that they were not as good as the Vietcong which led to

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