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Media in Vietnam

            "During particularly gripping testimony, one of the few mainstream camera crews present turned of its lights and packed up; the crew's exit sparked boos and jeers from the vets. That was the moment I became a media critic." (Myths, J. Cohen) Jeff Cohen's words seem to echo his opinion of the mainstream media here in the United States. In his article Cohen's views seem to swing him towards seeing the media as a bum going to work, if their not already late then their probably checking out early. While he could most likely find any number of other examples of bad or poor news coverage, he focuses on the news coverage during the Vietnam War. A war in which some would say the media helped turn the country against the war and the troops who fought in it. While coverage of the Vietnam War may have been flawed, it is not necessarily all the Medias fault.
             Cohen bases most of his theories on the role the media played during the Vietnam War on one incident that took place during the month of March in 1968. The My Lai massacre was incident involving U.S. Navy Seals and hundreds of Vietnamese civilians near Thanh Phong. Lead by former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey the seals were sent into My Lai were the rules of engagement had just been loosened and proceeded to slaughter over a hundred innocent Vietnamese civilians. After the massacre the media did not immediately follow up on the story even though there was an abundance of evidence to support its authenticity. Here is where Cohen finds his problem, he believes that such a story should be told immediately and in his thinking he is correct. Something like the story this atrocity needs to be told and by design it is the Medias job to inform the public. What Cohen doesn't see in this situation is that the media is not only reporting information that they are given, but they are also reporting what the masses want to hear. If the ratings are good when you report on how well the war effort is going then you probably aren't going to go out of your way to tell the American people that we are over in Vietnam killing innocent people.

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