Episode 1117 of the Vietnam Veteran News will feature one of the factors that made the Vietnam War unique up to that time in our history. Vietnam was the first televised war in our history. Madie Ward wrote a piece for the website National Archives – Pieces of History titled: Vietnam: the First Television War. She works at the National Archives and Records Administration which is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives.
In her article she not only describes the phenomenon of the “televisionization” of the Vietnam War but also the effects it had on the American people. She talked about the point raised by Lyndon B. Johnson when on April 1, 1968, the day after he announced that he would not run for reelection. He wondered what effect those vivid scenes have on American opinion.
For instance he asked what would have happened if cameras had been on the scene when American and allied forces were pushed back to the Pusan perimeter in the Korean War; or in the Battle of the Bulge when the Americans were being overrun by Germans forces or when our Air Force was shot down that day in June 1942 off Australia. Would American public opinion demand we get out of those wars?
It is an interesting point to ponder. Maybe we should consider the old truism: you should not watch sausage being made when it comes to televising the horrors of war. In the Vietnam War public opinion turned against the war after the in-depth coverage of the Tet Offensive even though it was a tremendous defeat of the enemy forces.
Listen to episode 1117 and discover more about Vietnam being the first televised war and the effects of that coverage.
Here are two examples of war news coverage. The first is from World War II the second is from the Vietnam War.
CLICK HERE for a sample of news coverage in World War II.
CLICK HERE for a sample of news coverage of the Vietnam War.