The Impact of the Media on the Vietnam War Essay

The Impact of the Media on the Vietnam War Essay

Length: 1726 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Impact of the Media on the Vietnam War


This essay will discuss to what degree the media can be blamed for the United States’ loss in the Vietnam conflict ending 1975. It will be based predominantly on key written resources on the subject, but it will also contain - by means of an interview - certain first-hand observations from a Vietnam War veteran.


For the sake of conciseness, and in order to focus the bulk of the content on the main topic, this essay will make certain assumptions. Most importantly, the essay assumes that the conflict in Vietnam was, indeed, lost by the US. It also presupposes that � due to the political climate in the US � the war itself was unavoidable. Finally, the essay takes for granted that the reader has a basic knowledge of the reasons and major events behind the US military intervention in Vietnam from the mid-1950s until 1975.

In the late 1960s, the low-intensity conflict in Indochina that had been in progress since the end of the Second World War became a full-scaled war. In order for the transition from low-intensity conflict to war to have taken place, a change in the public opinion surrounding the war must have taken place, resulting in the politicians of the time having support for the conflict. When the invasion was initiated, it was proved that the politicians in effect had the press in their pockets: the American press was not asking why there was a need for intervention, but rather how the logistics and economics of the invasion would fit together (Herman & Chomsky 1988).

Escalation of conflict

The US media did not become interested in the conflict until November 1960, when the US troops stationed in Saigon suffered a spectacular failure during a hunt for a small group of rebels: approximately 400 civilians were killed by American troops. With the conflict suddenly caught in the media spotlight, a small group of war correspondents were sent to Vietnam. The reporters were from the NYT, Herald Tribune, AP , UPI , Reuters and AFP . Stringers and / or reporters from Newsweek, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and the Observer soon followed. (Knightly 1975) Eventually � when the conflict escalated further � “Indochina was flooded with war correspondents” (Herman & Chomsky 1988, 193)

Warfare can be conducted for many reasons. In the case of the Vietnam conflict, the conflic...


... middle of paper ...


...; The media showed what happened, no more. And what was going on in Vietnam was not pretty, as with most other wars. It is safe to say that the media did not lose the war, but rather expressed the feeling that the US soldiers were dying by the thousands without a good reason.

As Melnick quite profoundly summarises it: “Nobody wants to die for somebody else’s country, and that’s what it boiled down to”.



Works cited:

Albig, W (1939) Public Opinion New York: McGraw-Hill

Cook, M et al. (2001) Tet Offensive http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=tet+offensive

Herman, E.S. and Chomsky, N (1988) Manufacturing Consent: The political economy of the mass media New York: Pantheon Books

Kennedy, W.V (1993) The Military and the Media: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War. New York: Praeger Publishers

Knightly, P (1975) The First Casualty London: Pan Books

Lugo, J (8 Oct 2002) Lecture: Manufacturing consent and public opinion. Liverpool John Moores University

Melnick, Mark (12 Oct 2002) Interview via e-mail: Media and Vietnam

Schulzinger, R.D. (1998) A time for war: The United States and Vietnam, 1941-1975 New York: Oxford University Press

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Impact of the Media on the Vietnam War Essay

- The Impact of the Media on the Vietnam War This essay will discuss to what degree the media can be blamed for the United States’ loss in the Vietnam conflict ending 1975. It will be based predominantly on key written resources on the subject, but it will also contain - by means of an interview - certain first-hand observations from a Vietnam War veteran. For the sake of conciseness, and in order to focus the bulk of the content on the main topic, this essay will make certain assumptions. Most importantly, the essay assumes that the conflict in Vietnam was, indeed, lost by the US....   [tags: Vietnam War Essays]

Term Papers
1726 words (4.9 pages)

Post War Impact of Vietnam Essay

- ... Although Jimmy is smart, he is not a great leader and oftentimes questions his own decisions. He like most of other young men follows commands from HQ even if he doesn’t necessarily agree with them. “The filth seemed to erase identities, transforming the men into identical copies of a single soldier, which was exactly how Jimmy Cross had been trained to treat them, as interchangeable unit of command.”(Obrien 156) In this paragraph we get a glimpse inside the military officer training. They were expected to operate and carry out the mission without showing any emotions or remorse even if their decisions proved fatal for their soldiers....   [tags: media portrayal, movies and books]

Term Papers
1728 words (4.9 pages)

The Impact of Media Coverage of the Tet Offensive on American Policy Essay

- How did media coverage of the Tet Offensive impact American policy concerning the Vietnam War. Part A: Plan of Investigation The investigation assesses the media coverage of the Tet Offensive and its impact on American policy concerning the Vietnam War from 1968 until 1969. The investigation evaluates the contrast between media broadcasts and government reports of the war, the effect of the media on the American public, and the effect of American public opinion on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s course of action....   [tags: Vietnam War Essays]

Term Papers
2148 words (6.1 pages)

Essay about Protests Against the Vietnam War

- James A. Baldwin once said, “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose” (BrainyQuote.com). In the 1960s, “the man” was youth across the country. The Vietnam war was in full force, and students across the country were in an outrage. Society needed an excuse to rebel against the boring and safe way of life they were used to; Vietnam gave them the excuse they needed. Teenagers from different universities came together and formed various organizations that protested the Vietnam war for many reasons....   [tags: Vietnam War Essays]

Term Papers
1005 words (2.9 pages)

The Vietnam War and Agent Orange Essay

- The Vietnam War was between Capitalist United states and Communist North Vietnamese; the war began in 1964 and ended in 1975. The US joined the war to stop the spreading of communism. The US came up with the domino theory which was if Vietnam turned communist the surrounding countries would all fall to communism too. The war suffered around 2.3million casualties and was very significant in the long term and the short term. Some of the wars key events were; in 1960 when the Vietcong was formed, 1963 when Diem was overthrown, 1965 Operation rolling thunder begun, 1969 Ho Chi Minh died and in 1963 the cease-fire agreement was signed in Paris and the troops leave Vietnam....   [tags: Vietnam War, Agent Orange, USA, chemmical warfare,]

Term Papers
1530 words (4.4 pages)

The Vietnam War Was The First Of It 's Kind Essay

- The Vietnam War was the first of it’s kind. It was the first war broadcasted through the television for the American citizens to see. David Brinkley said, “What television did in the sixties was to show the American people to the American people...It did show them people, places, and things they had not seen before. Some they liked and some they didn’t” (Hallin 5). Brinkley brilliantly expressed the importance of the media and it’s impact during the war. The country-wide indulgence of the television is what separates the Vietnam War from wars and conflicts that come before....   [tags: Vietnam War, South Vietnam, Viet Cong]

Term Papers
1495 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on The Vietnam War

- The Vietnam War “We cannot understand war without understanding culture” “Involvement in two world wars and the Cold War transformed America into a “crusader state” convinced of the superiority of its institutions and way of life and intent on imposing them on the outside world....   [tags: Vietnam War Essays]

Free Essays
1251 words (3.6 pages)

The Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War Essay

- The Tet Offensive      The Tet Offensive was a major assault by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong against South Vietnam and the U.S. forces situated there. It was not only a psychological advance for the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, but also gave the United States a notion that the war wasn’t going to be an easy win, and the chances of winning the war were, in fact, very slim.      The war initially was an attempt to limit the spread of communism throughout Asia. Similar to Korea, Vietnam was in a civil war divided by political ideologies....   [tags: Vietnam War Essays]

Term Papers
2385 words (6.8 pages)

The Vietnam War's Effects on American Society Essay

- The Vietnam War's Effects on American Society Abstract The Vietnam War had a profound effect on American society. It changed the way we viewed our government, the media, and our Constitutional rights. Because of this shift in perspective, the country was torn apart and yet still came together in new and different ways. The Vietnam War's contraversiality spurred a great many sources of protest, against our government's use of power, how far we could stretch the rights of free expression, and primarily against the violence of the war itself....   [tags: Vietnam War Essays]

Term Papers
2130 words (6.1 pages)

The Antiwar Movement During the Vietnam War Essay

- The Antiwar Movement in the U.S. - End the War in Vietnam. The antiwar movement against Vietnam in the US from 1965-1971 was the most significant movement of its kind in the nation's history. The United States first became directly involved in Vietnam in 1950 when President Harry Truman started to underwrite the costs of France's war against the Viet Minh. Later, the presidencies of Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy increased the US's political, economic, and military commitments steadily throughout the fifties and early sixties in the Indochina region....   [tags: Vietnam War Essays]

Free Essays
2831 words (8.1 pages)