Describe the media coverage of the Vietnam War and its effect.

Authors Avatar by 01williamsm (student)

Describe the media coverage of the Vietnam War and its effect.

        Vietnam was the ‘first media war’, the first war fought on TV. During the Korea War, audience and technology were still very limited. In 1950, only 9% of homes had television. By 1966 93% of homes in America owned televisions. This led to constant media coverage of the war; every night news channels brought the ‘horror of war’ into people’s living rooms. In August 1965 , TV coverage showed US marines on a ‘Zippo raid’ burning the village of Cam Ne. In 1968, during the Tet Offensive, viewers saw a colonel of the SVA execute one of his captives in a Saigon Street. However, very little blood and gore was shown, less than ¼ of film reports showed dead or wounded. Only during the Tet Offensive, when the war entered urban areas did its suffering and destruction appear regularly on TV. Most of the emphasis was on the ‘American Soldier’ and so coverage of Vietnam politics and the Vietnamese was little. Similarly, Vietnamese atrocities were unseen as it was too dangerous for them to be there so they presented a bias view.

Join now!

        As withdrawals came and morale declined, the tone of the reporting changed. Divisions over the war received increasing airtime and the anti-war movement was more accepted as a legitimate political movement. Walter Cronkite a famous US anchorman, in a report in 1968 summarising the Tet Offensive claimed that the war was unwinnable and the US would have to find away out. President Johnson reportedly said ‘If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost the American people.’ However, it is difficult to tell how much of an effect he had as Cronkite more dramatised the collapse than create it. Many generals accused critics ...

This is a preview of the whole essay