Declassified! Shocking Truth Behind Gulf of Tonkin Incident!

Vietnam became a focal point of extensive news coverage in the United States only after significant numbers of U.S. combat troops were deployed in the spring of 1965. Prior to that period, the presence of American journalists in Indochina was minimal—fewer than two dozen even as late as 1964. By 1968, when the war was at its peak, there were approximately 600 accredited journalists from various nationalities in Vietnam, working for U.S. wire services, radio and television networks, and major newspaper chains and news magazines. The U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) provided military transportation to newspeople, allowing some to venture into the field for firsthand stories. This close proximity to the battlefield carried obvious risks, resulting in the deaths of more than 60 journalists during the war. However, many reporters spent most of their time in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), gathering their stories from the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office’s daily briefings, which became known as “the five o’clock follies.”

The Vietnam conflict is often referred to as the “first television war.” Footage from Vietnam was flown to Tokyo for quick developing and editing, and then sent to the United States. Significant stories could be transmitted directly by satellite from Tokyo. While there has been much discussion about how television brought the war into American living rooms, most television stories were filmed after battles had ended rather than during them, and many were just conventional news stories. Indeed, most stories about the war on nightly TV news shows were brief reports based on wire service dispatches read by anchormen, rather than fresh film records from Vietnam.

The role of the media in the Vietnam War remains a topic of ongoing controversy. Some argue that the media played a significant role in the U.S. defeat, claiming that the media’s negative reporting helped undermine support for the war in the United States while its uncensored coverage provided valuable information to the enemy in Vietnam. However, many experts who have studied the media’s role have concluded that, before 1968, most reporting actually supported the U.S. effort in Vietnam. The February 1968 assessment by Walter Cronkite, the anchor of the CBS Evening News (known as “the most trusted man in America”), stating that the conflict was “mired in stalemate,” was seen by many as a turning point in reporting about Vietnam. This shift is said to have prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to remark, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” The increasingly skeptical and pessimistic tone of reporting may have reflected, rather than created, similar sentiments among the American public.

While reporting from Vietnam was uncensored, there were only a few instances during the entire war period where the MACV found a journalist guilty of violating military security. In any case, American disillusionment with the war was a result of many factors, with the media being just one. The most significant factor that undermined support for the war was the level of American casualties: as casualties increased, public support for the war decreased.

In retrospect, it’s clear that the media’s portrayal of the Vietnam War was complex and multifaceted. Although some blame the media for contributing to the U.S. defeat, it is evident that public sentiment was influenced by a multitude of factors. The media played a role in shaping public perception, but it did not act alone. The growing number of American casualties, coupled with the apparent lack of progress in the war, were crucial in shifting public opinion and ultimately undermining support for the conflict.

Related posts

Michigan Supreme Court Strikes Down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Pandemic Powers


U.S. Postal Service Mail Carrier Arrested For Dumping Mail, Including Numerous Ballots


Kamala Harris Lied About Abraham Lincoln and the Supreme Court