Vietnam was America's most divisive and unsuccessful foreign war. It was also the first to be televised and the first of the modern era fought without military censorship. From the earliest days of the Kennedy-Johnson escalation right up to the American withdrawal, and even today, the media's role in Vietnam has continued to be intensely controversial. The "Uncensored War" gives a richly detailed account of what Americans read and watched about Vietnam. Hallin draws on the complete body of the New York Times coverage from 1961 to 1965, a sample of hundreds of television reports from
1965-73, including television coverage filmed by the Defense Department in the early years of the war, and interviews with many of the journalists who reported it, to give a powerful critique of the conventional wisdom, both conservative and liberal, about the media and Vietnam. Far from being a consistent adversary of government policy in Vietnam, Hallin shows, the media were closely tied to official perspectives throughout the war, though divisions in the government itself and contradictions in its public relations policies caused every administration, at certain times, to lose its ability to "manage" the news effectively. As for television, it neither showed the "literal horror of war," nor did it play a leading role in the collapse of support: it presented a highly idealized picture of the war in the early years, and shifted toward a more critical view only after public unhappiness and elite divisions over the war were well advanced. The "Uncensored War" is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the Vietnam war or the role of the media in contemporary Americanpolitics.
A groundbreaking study of the media's influence on the Vietnam War
Overturns the conventional notions about the media's role in the war
Draws directly on a huge body of newspaper and TV coverage
"A first-rate book which throws new light on the topic...based on scholarly analysis of what actually was published and broadcast, judged in the context of historical events.... The first serious revisionist history of the role of the press in Vietnam."--The Washington Post Book World. "The value of Hallin's study lies not only in his research but also in his grasp of the real failure of American journalism in Vietnam--a failure to give its readers or viewers even the most rudimentary understanding of the real issues and true nature of the war."--The Philadelphia Inquirer. "This splendid study of the way the media actually covered the war is among the best and most important books published on the war in Vietnam."--History Book Review