The Influence Of The Tet Offensive In Vietnam

1220 Words 5 Pages
“We won the Tet Offensive. We decimated the Viet Cong. And our wonderful press made us losers. It was right at that point in time, I think, that the press fully turned on the war in Vietnam and started not necessarily generating news, but generating opinions. Because we decimated the Viet Cong during Tet. We decimated the North Vietnamese Army during Tet. Had we pressed the advantage the turnout would have been different. But when you are fighting a war based on politics, stuff happens.(Pritzker Military 2016)” SGT Allen Lynch was showing a discontent with the way the Vietnam War was perceived by the people back home. The United States and the South Vietnamese were victorious during the Tet Offensive but dissatisfaction in Washington following …show more content…
Giving the media an unprecedented amount of sway in the domestic reactions to the War and led to the falsification of its failures. Media continued to depict events in highly unfavorable and distorted terms. Early reports of smashing enemy victory, like Viet Cong being as high as the 3rd floor of the US Embassy, went largely uncorrected. The fact that the United States and South Vietnam hurled back the attack quickly was lost in the image of chaos and defeat. The immediate reports of Tet gave reporters who opposed the War like Joseph Kraft evidence against it, “The war in Vietnam is unwinnable, and the longer it goes on the more the Americans will be subjected to losses and humiliation (Herring 2014)”. A New York Times story reporting that we were considering sending those 206,000 more troops added to the furor. Setting off a barrage of protests even though the president never accepted the request. Leading to Congress wanting an explanation. The media had successfully shifted the discussion on the War with an untrue story. Nightly showing of the War led to War Weariness from the people of America, and coverage was especially intense during the battles of Tet. Westmoreland and others charged that hostile and all too powerful media snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by turning public against the war and limiting the government’s freedom of action when the US had a battered enemy …show more content…
The media had so much power during the 1970s that their negative view became the countries perspective. In a survey conducted in 1964, 58% US respondents said that they “got most of their news” from television (Hallin 1986). Unlike the wars of the past, the government gave reporters and journalists free reigns during the war to record it at their will. Leading to the public seeing the harsh realities of War from a firsthand prospective. Seeing the horrifying aftermath of the Tet offensive combined with the media exaggerating the success of the Viet Cong led to public support reaching an all-time low. Whether it was the bullet going into the head of an NLF capture on live television or a little girl running through the streets after being bombarded with Napalm that turned the outlook of the War with the American people is unknown. The only thing that is, is that the media impacted the Vietnam War in a way that hasn’t been seen before or since. It first started in the early 60s when the first Americans showed up, and didn’t end until the last Americans were rescued out of Saigon as it fell. Although the peak of the media’s influence was during the Tet offensive, where America won the battle, but lost the

Related Documents