During the Vietnam War the media was left unchecked and brought the
wartime images of death and carnage into America's living room. These
images served as morale killers and eventually turned much of the public
against its own government. During the Gulf War on the other hand, the
military filtered what reached the public's eye and morale was kept to all
time highs. In wartime the government should be able to manipulate public
opinion by controlling the media.
War is not pretty, and it is not for the weak at heart. Images of
war should not be broadcast into living rooms live. During the Vietnam
conflict this is what happened. Pictures and real time video of our troops
being slaughtered during battles of the Tet offensive and the siege of Khe
Sahn were sent home for all of America to see (Klein 50-51). Again, war is
not pretty and the way you keep morale up is you don't let the public know
how bad war really is.
Television is one of the most powerful tools of media and "by the
mid 1960's television had become the most important source for news for
most of the American public, and beyond that, perhaps, the most powerful
single influence on the public." (Hallin 106) So people trusted what
reporters like Walter Cronkite were telling them. They believed it when
NBC journalists told them things like, " the Marines are so bogged down in
Hue that nobody will predict when the battle would end...more than 500
marines have been wounded and over 100 dead since the in Hue began." (Klein
51) Don't get the wrong idea though, these things really happened but the
public didn't need to know it.
The constitution and 1st amendment still mean something but
national security should come first. People...