Coverage of the Vietnam War on Television

At the dawn of television media emergence, the coverage of the Vietnam War was subjective as the opinion of the public was manipulated to get the desired reaction from the Americans.

In order to explore this topic in-depth, I will focus on two types of sources:

  1. journal articles including the opinion of experts on the issue and
  2. primary sources such as speeches of prominent politicians of that time and testimonies of the Vietnam War veterans and journalists.

The connection between Sources and Thesis

This choice of sources is determined by the importance of including the first-hand experience of war journalists as they were the ones who created news and reported the events from the battlefield. For example, Nick Turner was a journalist in Vietnam at the time when the United States announced the war. In the reflective article, Turner talks about his experience arguing that the events they reported have never been broadcasted to the American audience. Turner makes the confession that he was aware the news about the Vietnam War were diligently prepared by the team of professionals who made up the news to ensure specific reaction (22). John Attarian’s arguments are in support of statements by Turner. Attarian shows that the President did not have the support of the American nation and it was necessary to impose the idea that war was necessary (288).

In addition to the opinion of journalists, I will focus on the testimonies of Vietnam soldiers, those people who were involved in combating and were knowledgeable about the truth of that time. For example, I will refer to the Winter Soldier Investigation, the transcript of the movie made by Vietnam veterans who shared their experiences. In particular, I will include the transcript of the speech delivered by William Crandell, the Vietnam War veteran, who pointed out that the Vietnam War was a political game and there was no real threat to the peace of the United States. William Crandell shows that the television coverage of the Vietnam War did not depict the truth of the conflict.

Moreover, I will include relevant theories and studies done to explore the impact of television on the audience in terms of war coverage. For example, Pfau et al present the empirical research according to which war news leads to the emotional response of the audience to the images of war broadcasted on television. Thus, I will support my statement with three specific sources of information: interviews/stories of the Vietnam War journalists, testimonies of Vietnam War veterans, and theoretical research.

Implications of Argument

The development of the argument that television coverage of the Vietnam War was not objective is both practical and theoretical. Integrating three different types of information into the paper, I will prove that the American government manipulates the opinion of the American audience. The paper will challenge the belief that modern media is objective and free of bias.

Research Questions

  • Was there a difference between news reported by journalists at war and news broadcasted to the audience?
  • Why? What do war journalists tell about this?
  • Did American politicians use television to shape the opinion of the public? What is the impact of television on the opinion of the public? Why was it necessary to shape the opinion of Americans?
  • What do Vietnam War veterans think about their experience in Vietnam? Were they deceived by the government as well? Why were Vietnam War veterans presented as insane by the government to the general public?


Attarian, John. “Rethinking the Vietnam War.” World and I 15.7 (2000): 288.

Crandell, William. Winter Soldier Investigation. 2009. Web.

Pfau, Michael, Haigh, Michel, Shannon, Theresa, Tones, Toni, Mercurio, Deborah, Williams, Raina, Binstock, Blanca. “The Influence of Television News Depictions of the Images of War on Viewers.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 52.2 (2008): 303.

Turner, Nick. “Media and War: Reflections on Vietnam Nick Turner Recalls His Experience as a War Correspondent during the Vietnam War.” New Zealand International Review 28.4 (2003): 22.

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