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Vietnam on Television  A Precedence in War Broadcasting and  Public Opinion Influence
Vietnam: “The Television War”
Before Television: War News Broadcast Via Radio Transmission
Testing the Waters in the Korean War
War Broadcasting via Television <ul><li>Censorship prevalent in WWII and The Korean War was virtually non-existent in Viet...
Equipment, Guts, and Location <ul><li>The Saigon news bureau was 3 rd  largest behind NY and Washington during most of the...
The War Itself <ul><li>U.S. Troops Committed in 1960 and Exponentially multiplied by 1962 </li></ul><ul><li>Attempt to pre...
Johnson’s Unwinnable War
Imagery, Gatekeeping, and Audience Perception
Transmission of Footage <ul><li>Satellite was possible, but too expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Cans of film were flown to New...
Nightly News Expands <ul><li>1963: CBS & NBC expand evening time slot from 15 to 30 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>More profit ...
Production <ul><li>News crews dependent on government and military access and sources </li></ul><ul><li>Less action = stag...
Famous Names <ul><li>Correspondents and anchors gain experience </li></ul><ul><li>Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Mike Wallace...
To Broadcast or  Not  to Broadcast? <ul><li>Networks wary of broadcasting negative images </li></ul><ul><li>Subject to FCC...
Too Close for Comfort <ul><li>Seattle Times, May 11, 1967 </li></ul><ul><li>Mrs. Morrow watching TV, war footage </li></ul...
More graphic footage <ul><li>Generic images of brave Americans subside </li></ul><ul><li>More injury, death, hopelessness ...
Hopelessness All Over TV <ul><li>CBS: September, 1967 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John Laurence visits Con Thien, 3 kilometers f...
Broadcast of Questionable Activity <ul><li>CBS: Morely Safer, reporting from Cam Ne </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soldiers filmed ...
Protests Are The Norm <ul><li>Often broadcast on TV, sometimes blocked </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcasting Magazine, Feb 28, 19...
Critical Broadcasts = War’s End? <ul><li>After Tet Offensive, anchors increasingly critical of Vietnam War </li></ul><ul><...
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Vietnam Grp P Point

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Broadcasting Vietnam by Glenn Crotts and Mandy Weber

Published in: News & Politics
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Vietnam Grp P Point

  1. 1. Vietnam on Television A Precedence in War Broadcasting and Public Opinion Influence
  2. 2. Vietnam: “The Television War”
  3. 3. Before Television: War News Broadcast Via Radio Transmission
  4. 4. Testing the Waters in the Korean War
  5. 5. War Broadcasting via Television <ul><li>Censorship prevalent in WWII and The Korean War was virtually non-existent in Vietnam. </li></ul><ul><li>With all the new technology, military officials could not imagine censoring the news </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJPZYfOOrb8 </li></ul>
  6. 6. Equipment, Guts, and Location <ul><li>The Saigon news bureau was 3 rd largest behind NY and Washington during most of the war </li></ul><ul><li>9 network personnel died and many more were wounded by the wars’ end filming the sought after “bang-bang” footage. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The War Itself <ul><li>U.S. Troops Committed in 1960 and Exponentially multiplied by 1962 </li></ul><ul><li>Attempt to prevent the Communist NLF and Viet-Cong takeover of South Vietnam </li></ul><ul><li>All Troops withdrawn by Johnson administration by 1975 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Johnson’s Unwinnable War
  9. 9. Imagery, Gatekeeping, and Audience Perception
  10. 10. Transmission of Footage <ul><li>Satellite was possible, but too expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Cans of film were flown to New York </li></ul><ul><li>Footage was broadcast a few days later </li></ul><ul><li>Footage from Tet Offensive: flown to Tokyo, fed to NY by satellite </li></ul><ul><li>Action seen on TV was background footage, seemingly successful combat </li></ul>
  11. 11. Nightly News Expands <ul><li>1963: CBS & NBC expand evening time slot from 15 to 30 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>More profit </li></ul><ul><li>1965: more reporters working in Vietnam </li></ul><ul><li>1967: ABC follows suit, expands to 30 minutes </li></ul>
  12. 12. Production <ul><li>News crews dependent on government and military access and sources </li></ul><ul><li>Less action = staged violence for TV </li></ul><ul><li>Night filming impossible </li></ul><ul><li>Crews must travel for good footage, rely on military transportation </li></ul>
  13. 13. Famous Names <ul><li>Correspondents and anchors gain experience </li></ul><ul><li>Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Mike Wallace, Walter Cronkite </li></ul><ul><li>Footage produced and narrated evolved according to gatekeeping measures taken by networks and government </li></ul>
  14. 14. To Broadcast or Not to Broadcast? <ul><li>Networks wary of broadcasting negative images </li></ul><ul><li>Subject to FCC </li></ul><ul><li>Subject to military and administration representatives’ orders </li></ul><ul><li>Private policies on releasing certain footage </li></ul><ul><li>1968: 24% of all footage from Southeast Asia showed images of dead or wounded </li></ul>
  15. 15. Too Close for Comfort <ul><li>Seattle Times, May 11, 1967 </li></ul><ul><li>Mrs. Morrow watching TV, war footage </li></ul><ul><li>Sees son, Albert Landon Morrow </li></ul><ul><li>He steps forward, and *BOOM* , an explosion </li></ul><ul><li>24 hours later she receives the call from military authorities </li></ul>
  16. 16. More graphic footage <ul><li>Generic images of brave Americans subside </li></ul><ul><li>More injury, death, hopelessness broadcast </li></ul><ul><li>Efforts in Vietnam for nothing? </li></ul><ul><li>NBC: February 2, 1968: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tet Offensive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>South Vietnamese Chief of Police executes NLF officer . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Horror broadcast into the living rooms of American citizens. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Hopelessness All Over TV <ul><li>CBS: September, 1967 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John Laurence visits Con Thien, 3 kilometers from North Vietnam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site of fierce fighting for over a year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews soldiers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Morale at an all-time low (0:22-1:48) </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Broadcast of Questionable Activity <ul><li>CBS: Morely Safer, reporting from Cam Ne </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soldiers filmed burning down homes, and killing civilians (4:58-6:35) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>President Johnson accuses CBS president, Frank Stanton, and Safer of impeding progress in Vietnam </li></ul><ul><li>White House to CBS: Replace Safer </li></ul><ul><li>Safer banned from all Marine Corps areas </li></ul>
  19. 19. Protests Are The Norm <ul><li>Often broadcast on TV, sometimes blocked </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcasting Magazine, Feb 28, 1966: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3 New York TV stations turn down 30-minute documentary, “While Brave Men Die” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Depicted actions of protestors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Would not be a significant addition to what has already been carried on newscasts about such protests.” </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Critical Broadcasts = War’s End? <ul><li>After Tet Offensive, anchors increasingly critical of Vietnam War </li></ul><ul><li>Walter Cronkite editorial : (1:02-2:09) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>February 27, 1968 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It seems now more than certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>President Johnson: “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Broadcast TV showed too much? </li></ul>

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