This paper is as much about my self as it is about media influence and it's effect on public opinion. As I journey through life I have become keenly aware of the consequences that occur when choices are made based on faulty data. .
Growing up I watched in disgust as the president of my country (President Nixon) was caught lying and covering up illegal activities of the Republican Party. President Ronald Regean scarred the hell out of me with his hawkish rhetoric. I was pretty liberal going to "no nukes concerts", supporting NORML, abortion rights, environmental issues, and other similar causes. At that time I thought the left were more concerned about individual freedoms. When President Clinton was elected my thinking was this change in leadership is probably a good thing even though I did not vote for him (I voted libertarian). I thought Rush Limbaugh was clueless and had no love of anything, especially animals. My perceptions were based on opinions I gleaned from people in the media. I particularly remember a radio show with Dr Dean Edell praising the new Clinton administration and the liberalizing of abortion laws and how this would be a boon for fetal cell research, at the time I thought it was a positive move.
The Vietnam War horrified and fascinated me. I was transfixed because I could see a possibility of me having to make a decision between going or leaving the country, and also horrified by the shear brutality and senselessness of war. Over the years I studied the Vietnam War and became friends with some Vietnam Veterans (one of my best friends was in Khe San during the Tet offensive). As I am assimilating all this it became obvious that the NVA had no chance to win the war through military warfare. The NVA knew this so they also orchestrated an effective political offensive through the media knowing we (the U.S.) would give up and walk away just as the French did. This campaign was so effective that a resounding defeat (the repression of the Tet offensive) was portrayed as a major victory in the US press for the NVA where even Walter Cronkite said the Vietnam War was unwinable.