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.