Media Coverage of the Vietnam War

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Media Coverage of the Vietnam War
Mass Media and Society
COMS-130E-O

Media Coverage of the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was one of the first wars to receive strong opposition from the American people mainly due to raw, uncut, uncensored and graphic media coverage. Many people agree with the fact that the Vietnam War was the first televised war. Media coverage and televised images literally brought the war into the living rooms of several American homes. Because of the brutality, horror and truthfulness the people saw, it had them questioning why our soldiers were in Vietnam, which eventually lead to protests in the homeland.

“For almost a decade in between school, work, and dinners, the American public could watch villages being destroyed, Vietnamese children burning to death, and American body bags being sent home” (McLaughlin, 2012). Although Americans and the media initially supported the war, that all changed after the Tet Offensive that occurred in the early morning hours of January 30, 1968. Political leaders had continually told the public that American and South Vietnamese forces had successfully disabled communist forces, rendering them incapable of launching a massive attack. The communists proved otherwise when the National Liberation Front (NFL) launched one of the most coordinated attacks in history that took troops, the government, and the people all by surprise. It left them in a state of complete shock. Media coverage reflected the changes that took place as the people began to question the reality of the war after the Tet Offensive occurred.

Rather than hearing and watching victorious portrayals of the war, the people began to really see what was going on with their soldiers in Vietnam. Several graphic pictures were released such as a Pulitzer Prize picture of young children running away after the Tet Offensive attacks occurred. One young, naked little girl, Kim Phuc, stood out as she ran amidst the children, her arms...
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