HOW JOURNALISTS INFLUENCED US WAR EFFORTS IN VIETNAM Date Introduction Historians unanimously agree that Vietnam War that transpired through 1957 to 1975 was very unique and one of its own. This agreement relates to the US involvement in the war, which was perhaps the first war fought by USA and reported on television…
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The differences that led to war involved the Northerners favoring communist form of rule and the Southerners favoring non-communist form of rule. The stand by Southerners tended to cohere with the desire of USA, which hated communist rule. Coupled with the fear of about the possible spread of communist rule across the entire East Asia in case any country managed to secure an opportunity, USA resolved to help South Vietnam intensify war against North to defeat the idea of communism. The perceived support given to the South prompted the North to fire directly on US ships1. This act aggrieved US authorities thus resolving to direct involvement and participation in the war. This is how US entered into the Vietnam affair, where it emerged unsuccessful due to various factors. One of the main factors was the involvement of American journalists in an era when televisions were widespread across many households in US. 2The digital technology of television and newspapers facilitated the process of journalists transmitting real videos and pictures as happened in the battle ground. Influence of Journalists on US efforts in Vietnam War Prior to the arrival of the US journalists in the war field, US government tended to deliver deceptive reports concerning the progress of the war. At first, the government denied claims that US troops took part in the war, while they did. This came clear after the arrival of the journalists in the war field, who captured and aired the real events. The reports send by the journalists showed how US participated in aerial bombings that killed many people. Some of the news showed children running helplessly in Trang Bang after being hit by and injured by bombs fell by US military. 3These pictures frightened and aggrieved most of the Americans who started blaming the government for mismanaging American resources by fighting innocent children. In fact, television news and newspapers covered a terror-stricken girl running along the street naked after her cloths burnt in bomb triggered fires. In bid to quell citizens, American government responded by claiming that the attacks on children were due to misdirected bomb thrown by South Vietnamese soldiers4. This claim was in total contradiction to the pictures and videos transmitted by journalists, which showed US airplanes dropping the bombs. 5Journalist reported and transmitted videos of massacres of US soldiers during the Tet offense of 1968, alongside flying of dead bodies of soldiers back to US. Furthermore, journalists investigating the Vietnam at some moments focused on the sad atrocities caused by US soldiers who massacred people across Vietnam. This news increasingly aggrieved US citizens who continued to declare strong opposition of the government in the Vietnam War. 6In spite of the media transmitting clear pictures and information as happening in the battleground, US government persisted on denial and even quoting small number of deaths of soldier contrary to the visual records transmitted by media. It this continued denial of the government and closure of truth that aggravated public anger to an extent of engaging public protests demanding for withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. 7The media through the respective investigative journalists stationed in Saigon did at one time transmit images about Buddhist crisis of 1963. The images showed people committing serious suicide away of protesting restriction to religious rights by Diem
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