Mass-media (Războiul din Vietnam) – “Mass-media (Vietnam War)”

The Media and the Vietnam War

The Media and the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War is often referred to as the first “television war.” Media coverage showed the American public the reality of a foreign war, detached from the government’s optimistic depiction uncensored on their televisions at home. During the 1960’s, there was a huge increase in television ownership in American households. And news shows became a popular source of information.

Video technology was also improving, allowing journalists and reporters to capture the war close-up and in great quantity. This would prove problematic for the U.S. government when it came to censorship. Stories could be live or edited, which could be done rapidly with film being sent to and transmitted from Tokyo.

Year Media Portrayal
Early 1960’s Positive U.S. victory in sight
Mid-1960’s Negative stance due to brutality of President Diệm’s regime
End of 1960’s Criticism of U.S. policies due to civil rights and anti-war movements

Impact of the Media

  • Controversy over the media’s role in the eventual American defeat in the Vietnam War
  • Increased number of correspondents during the war
  • Around sixty journalists killed during the war
  • President Johnson’s reaction to Walter Cronkite’s report

The controversy over the media’s role in the eventual American defeat in the Vietnam War came about from the reporting on the Tet Offensive as a complete communist victory, which was misleading to the public. Some historians argue that the media reporting during the Vietnam War was mainly reflective of the situation, and largely supportive of the U.S. effort.

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