South Vietnamese soldiers dressed in civilian clothes were sent North to spread unfavorable rumors such as two Chinese divisions allowed by Viet Minh had circulated throughout North Vietnam and Washington intended to launch an offensive to liberate the North after the last anti-communist Vietnamese had moved south 3. These rumors were aimed at all Vietnamese north of the parallel. Lansdale also paid a special attention to Northern Vietnamese Catholics who were opposed to communism. In fact, many propaganda efforts made use of religious sentiments to impress them. In addition, large numbers of posters were pasted in Hanoi and Haiphong depicting communists closing a cathedral and forcing people to pray under a picture of Ho Chi Minh 4.
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They preached that a possible communist government would mean an end to freedom of worship and the only choice they had was to escape to the South where Diem — a fellow Catholic were running a prosperous regime. As a result, more than 60 percent of 1. The propaganda campaign and the exodus came as a godsend to Diem as it provided him with hundreds of thousands of people who trusted and were willing to support his government.
In , as President Kennedy decided to escalate the U. In early , Ngo Dinh Diem , in cooperation with the U. Defections were often urged by leaflets dropped by aircraft over Viet Cong territories.
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When a Viet Cong returned to the government, he was offered amnesty, cash, medical treatment, food, education. An estimated 20 percent of the returnees then volunteered for military service and regularly operated in the same area where they had operated as Viet Cong. The others, tired of the rigors of military life, just tried to reintegrate into the normal life of the country 7. In short, the Chieu Hoi program achieved positive results.
The photo shows the moment of death for the young man. The impact that the photos had on the American public was astounding. Support for the war plummeted, and though two hundred thousand troops were requested at the beginning of the Offensive, the request was denied. The image depicted a soldier, who appears to be a child, dead and lying on the side of the road, with a group of civilians looking down at the body. It was published on May 5, Walter Cronkite said in an editorial, "To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.
To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. The media's role in bringing a strikingly different depiction of the war into American homes than the government had done signaled a shift in where the American public lay its trust, increasingly toward media reports about the war and increasingly away from federal reports about the war. Many researchers now agree that "across the political spectrum, the relation between the media and the government during Vietnam was in fact one of conflict: Many Americans felt betrayed by the government for withholding or deliberately manipulating information about the progress of the war, and once they saw on their televisions and read in their newspapers firsthand a less optimistic version of the war than the government had painted, public pressure to withdraw American power from Vietnam mounted until the government yielded and began to withdraw troops under Nixon in July though the last troops would not be withdrawn until On 3 November , President Richard M.
Propaganda in the Vietnam War by Allary Nguoore on Prezi
Nixon made a televised speech laying out his policy toward Vietnam. He promised to continue to support the South Vietnamese government through Vietnamization and held out a plan for the withdrawal of American combat troops. This "silent majority" speech, not the Tet Offensive, marked the real watershed of the American involvement.
In it, Nixon permanently altered the nature of the issue. He began by sharply limiting the press's access to information within Vietnam itself.
The peace talks in Paris, the viability of South Vietnam, of its military and its government, and its effect on American disengagement, became the prime stories during this period for the news media. According to Clarence Wyatt, the American disengagement was:. American troops were leaving until there were only a handful of advisers left. The communists were once again on the advance, spreading their influence closer and closer to the major cities. The South Vietnamese military was once again on the defensive, and the leadership of the nation was isolated and increasingly paranoid Nixon's goal, like Kennedy's, was for the press to have nothing to report.
The gradual dissipation of American support for the war was apparent in changes in the source of news stories.
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The traditional sources - press conferences, official news releases, and reports of official proceedings were less utilized than ever before. Reporters were doing more research, conducting more interviews, and publishing more analytical essays. The media never became "acutely critical On those rare occasions when the underlying reasons for the American intervention were explicitly questioned, journalists continued to defend the honorableness of American motives. Television's image of the war, however, had been permanently altered: According to Daniel Hallin, It was not until the collapse of consensus was well under way that coverage began to turn around; and when it did turn, it only turned so far.
The later years of Vietnam were "a remarkable testimony to the restraining power of the routines and ideology of objective journalism As the American commitment waned there was an increasing media emphasis on Vietnamization, the South Vietnamese government, and casualties - both American and Vietnamese.
There was also increasing coverage of the collapse of morale, interracial tensions, drug abuse, and disciplinary problems among American troops. These stories increased in number as U. The media demonstrated, however, "that the best reporters, by virtue of their many contacts, had a better grasp of the war's unmanageable human element than the policy makers supposedly in control.
The high number of American casualties 70 dead and wounded produced an unusual burst of explicit questioning of military tactics from correspondents in the field and from Congressmen in Washington. Tensions between the news media and the Nixon administration only increased as the war dragged on. In September and October , members of the administration openly discussed methods by which the media could be coerced into docility.
Possible methods included Internal Revenue Service audits, Justice Department antitrust lawsuits against major television networks and newspapers that could be accused of monopolistic business practices, and the monitoring incidents of "unfairness" by television broadcasters that would be turned over to the Federal Communications Commission for possible legal action.
As the war lengthened and the withdrawals continued, the two sides became more and more antagonistic toward one another and they battled constantly over the issues of combat refusals and the drug and morale problems of American troops.
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Fatigue with the war and each other have been cited for this escalating antagonism. It was also readily apparent to the media that American airpower had saved the day. The press reported heavily on the "mixed" capabilities of the South Vietnamese defense and on the retaliatory U. By the end of , the number of accredited American correspondents had declined to fewer than By September that number had dwindled to only As the war became more and more a South Vietnamese affair, the Saigon government tried to silence unofficial news sources, tightening its information guidelines and stringently punishing any who violated them.
With the breakdown of peace negotiations with Hanoi, President Nixon launched Operation Linebacker II , an extensive aerial campaign by B bombers and tactical aircraft that began on 16 December Nixon, in an effort to conceal the fact that the talks had broken down, ordered that the public explanation for the bombing be linked to "a possible enemy offensive in the South.
U.S. Propaganda in the Vietnam War
The American people, however, were unconvinced. According to a Harris poll, fewer than 50 percent agreed that it was "inhuman and immoral for the U. For the United States, the Vietnam War was over. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. How Americans Have Rated the President". Hallin, The Uncensored War: The Media and Vietnam New York: See also Wyatt, pgs. See also Wyatt, p. Of 33 stories with Vietnam datelines appearing in the New York Times in the four months preceding the crisis, only three could have been said to have dealt primarily with South Vietnamese politics.
None dealt with the non-communist opposition to the Diem regime. These four months were typical. Hallin, Uncensored War , p. Zimmer, The Vietnam War Debate ; pp. These numbers, however, were deceiving. Fully half of those accredited were not reporters but were instead technicians, secretaries, drivers, translators, and wives. University of Missouri Press, , p. Archived from the original on 6 November Retrieved 31 October Retrieved 18 July The New York Times. Retrieved 1 May University of California Press. The Media and Vietnam. The Media and Vietnam, 3. Presidio Press, , p.
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