Media Coverage in the Vietnam War and the War on Iraq (2003) Essay

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"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should be attended by a bodyguard of lies" - Winston Churchill. Ideally, the media has a responsibility of making sure that it doesn't happen. The media plays a crucial role in covering the war in the most objective, bias-free and truthful manner, even if negative stories have to be reported. The media also plays the role of a "watchdog" in observing the government closely and reporting their actions. In this essay, I shall compare the media coverage between the Vietnam War and Gulf War II. There are four areas to cover, which are the freedom of correspondents, embedding, the reliability and quality of the coverage.

In the Vietnam War, the U.S. government gave war correspondents great freedom
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However, there are a few freelance reporters reporting from Iraq. Moreover, the embeds' movements are monitored and restricted. Although these reporters have greater freedom, they are in a riskier situation as they did not receive basic military training and they are not under the military's protection.

The freedom of war correspondents in reporting can affect the media's coverage on the war. Generally, the public was flooded with all sorts of news and pictures in both wars. However, there are differences in the types of reports and photographs. As stated above, there were many gory pictures during the Vietnam War whereas there are hardly any in Gulf War II. Secondly, in the Vietnam War, the media was accused of writing too many negative stories (Kahrs 1997). What's more is that television coverage did not communicate the communist losses and only showed pictures of dead bodies, burning villages and chaos in Saigon. The media was also accused of ruining public morale with negative stories. Then the question of whether a correspondent's first obligation is to the truth or to his/her country arises (Evans 2003). Many correspondents were pro-war except for a few; therefore they did not question America's involvement in the war until it was over (Kahrs 1997). In contrast, in Gulf War II, there were many positive reports as well as a fair amount of negative

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