Influence of the Media in the Anti-War Movement of the 60's and 70's

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During his testimony to the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations, John Kerry mentioned that in his opinion, “there is nothing in South Vietnam which could have happened that realistically threatens the United States of America.” In that same testimony, Kerry discussed that most people “did not even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart.” The Fulbright hearings were an eye-opener to the millions of Americans who watched them. They convinced many that opposing the war and patriotism were compatible. The movement against the Vietnam War could be said as one of the greatest triumphs in democracy. The war’s purpose was to instill democracy, yet the war was waged with a lack of a constitutional warrant. What started as a few people protesting turned into the majority being opposed to the Vietnam War. The movement involved only a few dozen organizations in 1960, and overtime produced twelve hundred antiwar organizations a decade later. The antiwar movement was spurred by trends and perspectives on the war changing from 1965 to 1973, and contributing events such as the Mai Lai massacre and the Tet Offensive. The impact of the antiwar movement was clearly substantial, by the time the war had ended; the last Gallup poll recorded in May 1971 indicated that public approval of the war was at an all-time low of 28 percent. The movement provoked doubts about the war’s merits among the American public and elites, including in congress and the media, who, in turn influenced other Americans. The threat the movement posed to domestic social stability also promoted public and elite ...

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