Pub. Date:
University Press of Kansas
Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War / Edition 1

Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War / Edition 1

by William HammondWilliam Hammond


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For many Americans during the Vietnam era, the war on the home front seemed nearly as wrenching and hardfought as the one in Southeast Asia. Its primary battlefield was the news media, its primary casualty the truth. But as William Hammond reveals, animosity between government and media wasn't always the rule; what happened between the two during the Vietnam War was symptomatic of the nation's experiences in general. As the "light at the end of the tunnel" dimmed, relations between them grew ever darker.

Reporting Vietnam is an abridgment and updating of Hammond's massive two-volume work issued by the Government Printing Office. Based on classified and recently declassified government documents—including Nixon's national security files—as well as on extensive interviews and surveys of press war coverage, it tells how government and media first shared a common vision of American involvement in Vietnam. It then reveals how, as the war dragged on, upbeat government press releases were consistently challenged by journalists' reports from the field and finally how, as public sentiment shifted against the war, Presidents Johnson and Nixon each tried to manage the news media, sparking a heated exchange of recriminations.

Hammond strongly challenges the assertions of many military leaders that the media lost the war by swaying public opinion. He takes readers through the twists and turns of official public affairs policy as it tries to respond to a worsening domestic political environment and recurring adverse "media episodes." Along the way, he makes important observations about the penchant of American officials for placing appearance ahead of substance and about policy making in general.

Although Richard Nixon once said of the Vietnam war, "Our worst enemy seems to be the press," Hammond clearly shows that his real enemies were the contradictions and flawed assumptions that he and LBJ had created. Reporting Vietnam brings a critical study to a wider audience and is both a major contribution to an ongoing debate and a cautionary guide for future conflicts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780700609956
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Publication date: 10/30/1998
Series: Modern War Studies Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.84(d)

Table of Contents

1. Taking Sides
2. Maximum Candor
3. Keeping the Options Open
4. The Ground War
5. Keeping a Low Profile
6. The South Vietnamese Dimension
7. Claims of Progress—and Counterclaims
8. The Tet Offensive
9. "War in a Goldfish Bowl"
10. "I Will Not Warn Again"
11. Keeping Control
12. Questioning Begins
13. My Lai and Other Atrocities
14. Incursion into Cambodia
15. A Change of Direction
16. Incursion into Laos
17. Saving Face
18. The Easter Offensive
19. Endgame

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