Cultural Texts on the Vietnam War

In a sense, the culture industry since the end of the war has served the purpose of official propaganda by the American administration, the latter being less effective during the Vietnam War than it was during the World Wars. This was the first time that independent journalists built up anti-war sentiments at home, forcing the government to withdraw forces from Vietnam. By then, television had entered most American drawing rooms and censorship became weak. Nixon, in his memoirs, described how important the media had become during the Vietnam War. He said, “American news media had come to dominate domestic opinion about its purpose and conduct…. In each night’s TV news and each morning’s paper the war was reported battle by battle, but little or no sense of the underlying purpose of the fighting was conveyed. Eventually this contributed to the impression that we were fighting in military and moral quicksand, rather than towards an important and worthwhile objective” (quoted in Fehlman, 1992). Young (1991) argues that the war in Indochina disproved the naïve idea propagated by the administration’s spin-doctors that US foreign policies always "meant well" and that Marxism was always "bad".&nbsp. Before the war, the Americans portrayed the Vietnamese as deceitful hordes, cruel, apathetic and unconcerned lots. Young (1991) thinks that the war proved it otherwise and shows that the turn of events that led to the war were actually America’s doings. The administration’s media spin during the Vietnam War came a cropper primarily….
By then, television had entered most American drawing rooms and censorship became weak. Nixon, in his memoirs, described how important the media had become during the Vietnam War. He said, "American news media had come to dominate domestic opinion about its purpose and conduct. In each night’s TV news and each morning’s paper the war was reported battle by battle, but little or no sense of the underlying purpose of the fighting was conveyed. Eventually this contributed to the impression that we were fighting in military and moral quicksand, rather than towards an important and worthwhile objective" (quoted in Fehlman, 1992). Young (1991) argues that the war in Indochina disproved the nave idea propagated by the administration’s spin-doctors that US foreign policies always "meant well" and that Marxism was always "bad". Before the war, the Americans portrayed the Vietnamese as deceitful hordes, cruel, apathetic and unconcerned lots. Young (1991) thinks that the war proved it otherwise and shows that the turn of events that led to the war were actually America’s doings.
The administration’s media spin during the Vietnam War came a cropper primarily because it was as yet inexperienced with the new medium of television. While print journalists had already developed the art of covering human-interest stories during wars, the administration had learnt through its experiences during the world wars how to go about either censoring print media news or include embedded journalists to provide the official version of war reports. However, television news became of crucial importance during the Vietnam War and it has developed into a major art since then. As Braastrup notes, "No print journalist on a major