The Success of the Media's Manipulation on the Public's Opinion of the War

The Success of the Media's Manipulation on the Public's Opinion of the War

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The Success of the Media's Manipulation on the Public's Opinion of the War

Source K suggests the media was more influential to the opinion of
ordinary American citizens than the elected politicians of their
country, whom many of the public had voted for and trusted. The source
implies that the reason for this was because the horrific images of
the war made the American public realise that the war was not going
well, contrary to the claims of their government. Television coverage
of the war meant that any American citizen could turn on the
television and see that the war was going badly. This made the public
less likely to believe the pro-war politicians (‘Hawks’) who
proclaimed that the war was going well. The public turned to the media
more and more for information, as the politicians were proven to have
been lying. However, it is difficult to ascertain how much impact the
media’s influence had on public opinion and Source K does not give us
any examples.

In Source A, President Johnson is addressing the nation on television
to try and convince the public that the war was justified. Johnson was
aware of the usefulness of the media in influencing public opinion,
especially the television media. If Americans saw him on television
arguing for the war in Vietnam, public support for the war was likely
to increase. He also knew that a large portion of American citizens
watched television and so were likely to hear his argument for
fighting in Vietnam. These were the main reasons why Johnson chose to
broadcast his speech on television. The source is limited however as
it does not tell us the impact of the television address, so we do not
...


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...is
rifle. The producers must have known that the soldier would be in an
emotional mood at that time and not in the right frame of mind to
answer questions. Due to this, we must question the source’s
reliability and assume that this was not representative of the
soldiers as a whole. The media wanted to show war in this way to shock
the viewers and gain support for its ‘anti-war’ campaign.

The sources do not give a clear answer to the question. Most of the
sources are not completely reliable and only give a partial answer to
the question. We must take into account that many factors other than
the media contributed to the public antipathy towards the war, so
evidence that American citizens were against the war does not
automatically mean that the media were successful in manipulating the
public’s opinion of the war

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