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U.S. Failure in Vietnam

In an interview, celebrated television newscaster Walter Cronkite, whose commentary accompanying television footage of the Vietnam War was familiar to people during the 1960s, noted that television coverage had a major role in shaping United States opinion and response to the Vietnam War. Watching all that death on television news made the United States people question the viability of war as a means of pursuing political ends. The resulting protests against the Vietnam War, which included marches in the streets, may ultimately have had an effect on the decision-makers in Washington D.C., who eventually were forced to bring the war to a conclusion by withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam. Cronkite was a "trusted" authority on news by the American public, and Johnson said that when he lost Cronkite's confidence in the Vietnam War, he lost the country's.

Cronkite was critical of television because it did not cover events like the Vietnam War until after they had erupted into major crises with violence. It is Cronkite's feeling that the television medium is doing the right thing when it sacrifices some financial gain in favor of public responsibility. Television news also brought home the message that people could show strength through organization, follow their leaders in protest, and attract attention by throwing bricks through windows (Sanders 19-21).

Reed Irvine, a retired military officer, argues that report-ing the war by the press televisio


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U.S. Failure in Vietnam. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:17, October 22, 2014, from
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