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“Vietnam:  A  Television  History”  contains  elements  of  both  pro-­‐war  and  anti-­‐war  bias:  Discuss.   "No  event  in  American  history  is  more  misunderstood  than  the  Vietnam  War.  It  was   misreported  then,  and  it  is  misremembered  now.  Rarely  have  so  many  people  been   so  wrong  about  so  much.  Never  have  the  consequences  of  their  misunderstanding   been  so  tragic."1                                    Richard  Nixon   Television  and  the  media  have  become  inseparable  in  their  documentation  and  promulgation  of   historical  events.  Vietnam:  A  Television  History  is  one  such  example  of  this  and  has  been  referred  to   as  both  a  “masterpiece  of  propaganda”2  and  as  a  “the  purest  nonfiction,  a  landmark  documentary”3.   This  essay  will  discuss  elements  of  both  pro-­‐war  and  anti-­‐war  bias  in  the  PBS  series  Vietnam:  A   Television  History,  additionally  through  this  essay  I  will  discuss  and  then  prove  that  the  PBS  series  is   marred  in  and  beleaguered  with  anti-­‐war  bias.   Vietnam:  A  Television  History  was  originally  aired  in  October  1983  and  was  comprised  of  thirteen   episodes  which  flowed  chronologically,  spanning  the  years  of  1945-­‐1975.  The  series  was  instigated   by  Executive  Producer  Richard  Ellison4  with  Stanley  Karnow5  the  renowned  war  correspondent  and   journalist  serving  as  chief  correspondent  for  the  television  series.  The  work  for  Vietnam:  A  Television   History  was  carefully  orchestrated  and  constructed  in  order  to  maintain  objectivity  and  thus  avoid   bias6.  Numerous  writers  and  producers  worked  on  the  series;  including  names  such  as  Judith  

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 Richard  Nixon,  No  More  Vietnams  (New  York:  Arbour  House,  1985),  9.    John  Puzzo,  Viet  Nam  and  Hollywood,  http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=3696,   nd accessed:  22  November  2011.   3 th  Review  quote  by  the  Denver  Post  (26  May  1997)   th http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/press.html  Page  created  on  29  March  2005  by  PBS,   st accessed:  21  November  2011.   4 th  Margalit  Fox,  (October  9  2004),  Richard  Ellison,  80,  Producer  of  Documentary  on  Vietnam,  Dies,  The  New   York  Times,  http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/09/arts/09ellison.html?pagewanted=print&position,  accessed:   nd 22  November  2011.       5 Library  of  Congress,  Vietnam:  30  Years  After,   nd http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=3696,  accessed:  22  November  2011.   6  Edwin,  Moise,  Recent  Accounts  of  the  Vietnam  War  –  A  Review  Article,  Journal  of  Asian  Studies,  44.2  (1985),     p344.   2


Vecchione7,  Austin  Hoyt,  Elizabeth  Deane,  Martin  Smith,  Bruce  Palling  and  Richard  Ellison  amongst   others.  At  the  time  of  its  inception  and  creation,  it  was  the  most  expensive8    television  series  ever  to   have  been  made  and  was  reported  to  have  cost  $4.5  million  dollars9  -­‐  following  the  completion  of   the  television  series  Stanley  Karnow  wrote  and  published  his  book;  Vietnam:  A  History10,  which  acted   as  an  accompaniment  to  the  television  series.  Whilst  the  series  did  garner  criticism,  it  was   overwhelmingly  lauded  and  celebrated11,  eventually  winning  numerous  awards,  including  the   Pulitzer  Prize12.     Whilst  Richard  Ellison,  Executive  Producer  for  the  television  series  sought  to  keep  the  series  free   from  bias13,  and  to  maintain  objectivity,  it  was  neither  reached,  nor  maintained14.  Nixon  ironically   highlighted  the  challenge  of  misunderstanding  and  misreporting  the  Vietnam  War,  as  mentioned  in   the  opening  quotation15.  However,  there  are  numerous  criticisms  which  specifically  target  the  anti-­‐ war  sentiment  which  permeates  throughout  the  series.  One  specific  argument  is  proffered  by  Peter   Rollins,  who  criticises  PBS  and  its  producers  for  using  Ngo  Vinh  Long  as  a  translator  in  the  television   series,  Long  was  “exposed  as  a  paid  employee  of  Hanoi”16.  Rollins  continues  on  and  references   James  Banerian’s  book;  Losers  are  Pirates17,  which  expounds  translation  inconsistencies,  Banerian  

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 Alan  Rosenthal,  New  Challenges  for  Democracy  (Los  Angeles:  University  Press,  Ltd.,  1988),  499.    M.  Frisch,  The  Memory  of  History,  in  (ed.)  S.  Porter,  S.  Brier,  R.  Rosenzweig,  Presenting  the  Past,  (Philadelphia:   Temple  University  Press,  1986),  p.  9.   9  Robert  Niemi,  History  in  the  Media:  Film  and  Television  (California:  ABC-­‐CLIO  Inc.,  2006),  157.   10  Stanley  Karnow,  Vietnam:  A  History,  (London:  Century  Publishing  Co.  Ltd,  1983)   11  John  Corry  (1983),  TV:  The  Tet  Offensive  in  Vietnam,  The  New  York  Times,   th http://www.nytimes.com/1983/11/08/arts/tv-­‐the-­‐tet-­‐offensive-­‐in-­‐vietnam.html,  accessed  18  November   2011.   12 E.  Brennan  and  E.  Clarage,  Who’s  Who  of  Pulitzer  Prize  Winners  (Phoenix:  The  Oryx  Press,  1999),  321.   13  Question  2,  untitled  document  with  seventeen  questions  and  answers  about  the  series,  with  Richard  Ellison   th answering  questions,  (Dated:  March  17  1981),  https://luvle.lancs.ac.uk/11-­‐ rd 12/hist/hist256.nsf/courseMaterial.xsp?action=openDocument&documentId=D26,  accessed:  23  November   2011.       14  Moise.  343-­‐344.   15  Nixon.  9.   16  Peter  Rollins,  America  Reflected:  Language,  Satire,  Film  and  the  National  Mind  (Washington:  New  Academia   Publishing,  2010),  402.   17  James  Banerian,  Losers  are  Pirates:  A  Close  Look  at  PBS  Series  “Vietnam”:  A  Television  History  (Phoenix:   Sphinx  Publishers,  1984),  69.   8


claims  that  this  was    in  an  attempt  to  hide  “Communist  rhetoric”18,  which  is  claimed  to  pervade   throughout  the  North  Vietnamese  interviews  and  materials  translated  by  Long.  However,  whilst   numerous  academics  and  intellectuals  criticised  and  condemned  the  anti-­‐war  bias  within  the  series,   others  have  praised  and  applauded  the  series  producers  for  seeking  to  be  ‘fair  minded’19  and   balanced  in  their  approach  to  the  series.     Following  the  initial  PBS  series  airing,  there  were  numerous  reviews  both  praising  and  criticising  the   series,  one  such  example  of  these  criticisms  was  proposed  by  Tuan  Tran  who  was  a  teenager  living  in   South  Vietnam  during  the  war  and  grew  up  under  Communist  rule.  Tran  complained  that  it  was  a   very  “one-­‐sided  story”20  which  portrayed  the  North  Vietnamese  as  working  to  “save  the  South”21.  He   argues  that  the  series  was  biased  with  pro-­‐war  sentiment,  he  argued  that  the  series  gave  the   opportunity  to  “show  America  that  they  are  right  to  invade  the  South”22,  this  upset  Tran  and  other   expatriate  Vietnamese23  who  experienced  and  witnessed  the  Vietnam  war  in  all  it’s  painful  gore.   Tran  concludes  by  insisting  that  the  South  Vietnamese  perspective  was  not  adequately  presented   and  that  it  did  not  show  “what  the  north  did  to  the  South”24.  Thus,  we  can  conclude  that  whilst  this   series  did  contain  anti-­‐war  sentiments,  there  are  still  traces  of  pro-­‐war  bias  which  have  been   observed  in  the  television  series  by  its  viewers,  particularly  those  who  were  involved  at  a  relatively   under-­‐reported  angle25.    

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 Rollins.  402.    Niemi.  157.   20  PBS,  Viewer  Mail,  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/viewers.html,  accessed:  25th  November   2011.     21  ibid   22  ibid   23  Manh  Hung  Nguyen,  “Vietnam:  A  Television  History”  A  Case  Study  in  Perceptual  Conflict  Between  the   American  Media  and  Vietnamese  Expatriates,  World  Affairs  (147),  (1988),  p69.   24  PBS,  Viewer  Mail,  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/viewers.html,  accessed:  25th  November   2011.   25  Nguyen.  69.   19


An  argument  is  put  forward  by  George  Sciabbala26  who  analysed  and  critiqued  the  use  of  specific   language  within  the  documentary  series.  He  recounts  how  the  series’  narrator  (Will  Lyman27)  refers   to  large  parts  of  South  Vietnam  as  “Indian  country”28.  Sciabbala  mentions  also  that  “American   barbarianism  and  American  innocence  come  together  for  an  instant”  29  –  these  remarks  appear  to   take  a  swipe  at  previous  American  imperialism,  specifically  relating  to  the  Native  American  Indians.   The  narrative  by  Lyman  is  often  short  and  without  explanation,  the  remark  Scoabbala  claims   “appears  out  of  nowhere  and  leads  nowhere;  yet  it  leaves  one  breathless”30.  Significantly,  the   language  communicates  unsaid  anti-­‐war  feelings;  these  feelings  are  in  turn  reflected  upon  and   perceived  as  bias.  For  instance,  many  Conservatives,  including  David  DiLeo  there  was  a  strong   opinion  that  Vietnam:  A  Television  History  was  a  “transparently  liberal  interpretation  of  the  war”31,   DiLeo  continues  by  arguing  that  the  series  put  too  much  emphasis  upon  the  wrong  things,  he   describes  it  best  in  his  owns  words;     “…the  justice  of  North  Vietnam’s  struggle,  the  ineptitude  and  corruption  of   South  Vietnam’s  transitory  regimes  and  the  questionable  morality  of  the   world’s  greatest  military  force  unleashing  an  unprecedented  display  of   firepower  in  a  local  civil  war  half-­‐way  around  the  planet…  objective  appraisal   of  the  role  of  American  forces  in  Southeast  Asia  is  unquestionably   prejudiced.”32      DiLeo’s  negative  appraisal  of  the  television  series  is  not  the  first  and  neither  shall  it  be  the  last.  To   clarify,  as  a  rule  it  seems  apparent  that  –  Conservatives  view  Vietnam:  A  Television  History  as  a  form   of  apologetic  justification  for  the  Vietnam  War.  Some  key  conservative  academics  that  fit  into  this                                                                                                                           26

 George  Scialabba  (1983),  Vietnam:  A  Television  History,  PBS,   th www.georgescialabba.net/mtgs/1983/10/vietnam-­‐a-­‐television-­‐history-­‐p.html,  accessed:  25  November  2011.     27  WGBH/Boston  (1983),  Vietnam:  A  Television  History  America’s  Mandarin  (1954-­‐1963)  Transcript,   http://karws.gso.uri.edu/Marsh/Vietnam/103ts.html,  accessed:  25th  November  2011.       28  Scialabba,  Vietnam:  A  Television  History,  PBS.     29  ibid   30  ibid   31  David  DiLeo,  Vietnam:  A  Television  History,  The  History  Teacher,  18.1  (1984),  p127.   32  Ibid  p128  


category  include;  Reed  Irvine33,  David  DiLeo34  and  Peter  Rollins35,  who  have  each  published  works   which  have  criticised  the  television  series  in  one  form  or  another.  It  can  be  argued  that  those  who   champion  a  conservative  perspective  are  of  a  pro-­‐war  mentality,  whilst  those  who  are  of  a  liberal   persuasion  uphold  an  anti-­‐war  perspective.  Thus,  in  conclusion,  the  aforementioned  arguments   purport  that  there  exist  both  elements  of  bias,  both  pro-­‐war  and  anti-­‐war,  in  the  PBS  series,  Vietnam:   A  Television  History.  These  existing  arguments  support  my  initial  thesis,  which  was  that   overwhelmingly  the  series  is  encapsulated  in  anti-­‐war  bias,  although  –  I  do  not  deny  the  presence  of   elements  of  pro-­‐war  bias  within  the  television  series,  we  must  remember  after  all  that  this  series  was   not  the  production  of  one  man  and  his  ideological  perceptions,  rather  it  was  a  team  of  individuals   with  varying  understanding,  beliefs  and  opinions  regarding  the  military  and  political  endeavour  into   Indo-­‐China.     On  analysis,  the  titles  of  the  individual  programs  offer  an  interesting  perspective  and  insight  into  the   minds  of  the  producers  and  writers  of  the  episodes’.  With  titles  such  as  ‘America  Takes  Charge’36  and   ‘LBJ  Goes  To  War’37  there  is  an  inference  that  the  United  States  was  an  aggressive,  controlling  and   militant  nation.  There  is  validity  in  the  covering  of  these  particular  topics,  however,  it  is  worth   reflecting  upon  and  considering,  why  for  instance,  the  third  program  was  named  ‘LBJ  Goes  to  War’,   instead  of  ‘America  goes  to  War’  or  maybe  even  ‘LBJ  and  Vietnam’.  The  naming  of  the  programs   therefore  gives  a  clue  into  the  mentality  and  attitude  of  the  producers  and  writers;  on  closer   examination  we  can  identify  that  certain  statements  within  the  program  notes  can  further   extrapolate  and  reveal  ideologies  and  mentalities  of  those  involved  with  the  series’  production.  

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 Reed  Irvine:  A  Biography,  http://www.reedirvine.net/biography.html,  accessed:  25  November  2011.      David  DiLeo,  George  Ball,  Vietnam,  and  the  rethinking  of  containment  (Chapel  Hill:  The  University  of  North   Carolina  Press,  1991)   35  Rollins.  274.   36 th  PBS,  Program  Notes,  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/fd.html,  accessed:  16  December   2011.   37  ibid   34


Statements  such  as  the  two  following  examples38  will  demonstrate  how  the  prevalent  mind-­‐set  was   of  one  dripping  in  anti-­‐war  bias;   “With  Ho  Chi  Minh  determined  to  reunite  Vietnam,  President  Lyndon  Baines   Johnson  determined  to  prevent  it,  and  South  Vietnam  on  the  verge  of  collapse,  the   stage  was  set  for  massive  escalation  of  the  undeclared  Vietnam  War.”  –  LBJ  Goes  to   War39   By  mentioning  and  making  the  point  that  the  Vietnam  War  was  undeclared,  there  is  a  subtle   attempt  to  delegitimise  and  condemn  the  incursion  into  Vietnam.   “Despite  technical  neutrality,  both  of  Vietnam's  smaller  neighbors  were  drawn  into  the   war,  suffered  massive  bombings,  and,  in  the  case  of  Cambodia,  endured  a  post-­‐war   holocaust  of  nightmarish  proportions.”  –  Cambodia  and  Laos40   Language  used  to  describe  the  Cambodia  and  Laos  program,  implicates  that  there  were  negative   and  seriously  detrimental  after-­‐effects  from  the  Vietnam  War.    Thus,  from  these  two  examples,   we  can  ascertain  that  even  the  program  notes  contained  anti-­‐war  bias,  which  in  turn  infers  that   Vietnam:  A  Television  History  also  contains  anti-­‐war  bias.  Despite  this,  in  the  series,  the  program   notes  for  ‘America’s  Enemy  (1954-­‐1967)’41  do  provide  a  counter  argument;     “The  Vietnam  War  as  seen  from  different  perspectives  by  Vietcong  guerrillas  and   sympathizers,  by  North  Vietnamese  leaders  and  rank  and  file,  and  by  Americans   held  prisoner  in  Hanoi.”  –  America’s  Enemy42  

                                                                                                                        38

 Louis  Peake,  The  United  States  In  The  Vietnam  War,  1954-­‐1975  (New  York:  Routledge,  2008),  269-­‐270.   th  PBS,  Program  Notes,  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/Vietnam/series/fd.html,  accessed:  16  December   2011.     40  ibid   41  ibid   42  ibid   39


This  brief  for  the  program  appears  to  be  an  attempt  to  show  that  the  series  is  an  unbiased   and  balanced  television  history;  however,  it  appears  to  be  directly  inserted  into  the  series,   apparently  for  that  reason,  to  generate  the  appearance  of  neutrality.  Conclusively,  the   program  notes  appear  to  maintain  and  sustain  the  appearance  of  objectivity.  However,  on   closer  analysis  and  with  investigation,  the  notes  appear  to  be  injected  with  balanced   material  in  an  attempt  to  ‘objectify’  the  television  series.     Despite  the  appearance  of  bias  in  the  aforementioned  argument,  it  seems  that  historians  question   the  methodology  and  apparatus  of  the  material  within  Vietnam:  A  Television  History,  rather  than  the   material  which  is  presented.  For  instance,  Michael  Frisch43  puts  forward  a  two  pronged  criticism  of   the  television  history,  primarily  the  casualness  of  the  presentation  and  secondly,  that  there  is  a   reliance  upon  ‘personal  experience’  throughout  the  series.  Frisch  lampoons  the  series  for  its  “near-­‐ exclusive  reliance”44  upon  people  who  were  participants  in  Vietnam,  those  he  dubs  as  “self-­‐ apologists”45,  individuals  who  were  attempting  to  distance  themselves,  atone  for  and  apologise  for   their  participation  in  the  conflict46,  most  notably  US  soldiers.  Historians  such  as  Frisch  consider  this   reliance  upon  personal  or  oral  stories  and  experiences  as  impractical  when;  “the  topic  is  a  political  or   military  event”47.  Invariably,  when  cross  examining  this  argument  with  our  discussion,  ‘Vietnam:  A   Television  History  contains  elements  of  pro-­‐war  and  anti-­‐war  bias’;  there  are  similarities  and   parallels,  namely  that  when  relying  upon  such  subjective  material,  there  will  always  be  traces  of  bias,   both  for  and  against.  Frisch’s  argument  is  very  accurate  and  apt,  and  is  one  that  conclusively   highlights  the  need  to  be  objective  when  obtaining  sources  and  the  need  for  the  use  of  a  variety  of   sources,  not  the  sole  reliance  upon  one  type  of  source.  Thus,  due  to  the  biased  nature  of  oral  

                                                                                                                        43

 Frisch,  M.,  ‘The  Memory  of  History’,  in  (ed.)  S.  Porter,  S.  Brier,  R.  Rosenzweig,  Presenting  the  Past,   (Philadelphia:  Temple  University  Press,  1986),  p.  13   44  ibid   45  ibid   46  ibid   47  ibid  


sources  and  the  ‘near  exclusive  reliance’48  upon  them  in  Vietnam:  A  Television  History,  there  is   evidence  which  indicates  that  there  is  a  degree  of  both  anti-­‐war  and  pro-­‐war  bias  within  the  series.   This  essay  has  thus  far  shown  that  bias  does  exist  within  Vietnam:  A  Television  History,  both  pro-­‐war   and  anti-­‐war  bias.  However,  a  critical  argument  relies  on  the  idea  of  proportions.  Historians  have   questioned  why  certain  portions  of  the  film  received  so  much  air-­‐time,  whilst  other  key  aspects  of   the  conflict  received  little  or  none.  By  choosing  to  allocate  time  to  specific  topics  and  events,  there  is   a  form  of  indirect  implication;  in  this  case,  as  the  moral  standing  point  of  the  PBS  series  is  not  overtly   stated,  it  leads  minds  to  wonder  if  the  series  has  an  ulterior  thesis  and  opinions  of  the  conflict  which   are  not  specifically  stated.    Correspondingly,  historians  have  commented  and  speculated  that  there   is  a  ‘liberal  undertone’49  which  is  apparent  throughout  the  series,  with  particular  episodes  receiving   specific  criticism.  DiLeo  as  aforementioned  was  a  particular  critic  of  the  series  who  paid  close   attention  to  the  ideas  and  notions  of  proportions,  relativism  and  objectivity,  within  the  series.  DiLeo   draws  attention  to  program  six,  ‘America’s  Enemy,  1954-­‐1967’50,  which  he  describes51  as  being   overly  explicit  and  subjective,  especially  in  the  portrayal  of  the  “American  fighting  man”52  and  of   combat  conditions  in  Vietnam.  For  program  six,  there  seems  to  be  an  inordinate  and  disproportional   amount  of  material  related  to;  “interrogation  and  torture”  of  Vietnamese53,  the  “indiscriminate   killing  of  civilians”  and  the  “exultations  of  American  pilots  riddling  an  enemy  with  bullets  and   rockets”54,  amongst  additional  incriminating  evidence  of  various  descriptions.  Therefore,  the   proportion  of  material  indicates  and  infers  that  the  American’s  were  a  savage,  militaristic  and   imperialistic  force.  Thus,  the  active  choice  to  give  the  aforementioned  material  such  a  key  position  

                                                                                                                        48

 ibid    Darryl  Hamamoto,  Monitored  Peril:  Asian  Americans  and  the  Politics  of  TV  Representation  (Minneapolis:   University  of  Minnesota  Press,  1994),  208.   50  Peake.  269-­‐270.   51  David  DiLeo,  ‘Vietnam:  A  Television  History’,  The  History  Teacher,  18.1  (1984),  p.  128   52  ibid   53  ibid   54  ibid   49


and  dominant  existence  in  the  program,  would  indicate  that  the  series  is  victim  and  subject  to  anti-­‐ war  bias55.       With  the  airing  of  Vietnam:  A  Television  History  in  1983,  the  memory  of  Vietnam  was  still  very  much   present  in  the  minds  of  many  American’s,    the  production  of  the  series  began  just  a  few  years  after   the  war  officially  had  ended,  and  there  still  existed  a  considerable  amount  of  animosity  and   controversy  regarding  the  war.  Politically  there  had  been  a  storm  which  swept  over  the  United   States  as  a  direct  result  of  the  Vietnam  conflict56,  Robert  Buzzanco  described  the  effects  of  the   political  situation  as  “a  rupture  in  the  social  fabric  unlike  any  in  the  twentieth  century”57,  for   instance;  anti-­‐war  protests,  student  demonstrations,  draft  card  burnings  all  contributed  and   reflected  a  considerable  aspect  of  societies  feelings58  during  and  after  the  war.  Therefore,  with  the   concurrent  political  events  within  the  United  States  there  existed  considerable  anti-­‐war  feelings   during  the  research,  production  and  airing  of  Vietnam:  A  Television  History,  thus,  the  series  would   invariably  be  marred  with  anti-­‐war  bias  as  a  natural  by-­‐product  of  the  time  it  was  put  together.   In  conclusion,  Vietnam:  A  Television  History  has  been  used  and  studied  in  academic  circles  for  many   years,  specifically  in  educational  institutions.  However,  this  essay  has  provided  evidence  to  show   that  the  series  does  contain  evidence  of  both  pro-­‐war  and  anti-­‐war  bias,  specifically  this  essay  has   drawn  attention  to  a  number  of  key  issues  expressly;  the  in-­‐balance  in  the  proportion  of  time  spent   on  specific  topic  within  the  programs,  the  concurrent  political  and  social  issues  at  the  time  of   production  and  development  of  the  series,  the  use  and  near-­‐sole  reliance  upon  oral  and  personal   experiences,  the  dependence  upon  North  Vietnamese  both  for  production  and  in  gathering  personal   accounts,  and  finally  the  injection  and  use  of  language  throughout  the  series.    Therefore,  in                                                                                                                           55

 PBS,  Transcript  America’s  Enemy  (1954-­‐1967),  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/pt_05.html   accessed:  19th  December  2011.     56

 John  Kerry,  testimony  to  the  U.S.  Senate  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations  (1971),   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/psources/ps_against.html  accessed:  19th  December   2011.   57  Robert  Buzzanco,  Vietnam  and  the  transformation  of  American  Life  (Oxford:  Blackwell  Publishers   Ltd,  1999),  3.   58  Ibid.  5.  


understanding  and  in  analysis  there  appears  to  be  an  overwhelming  amount  of  evidence  to  show   that  the  series  does  contain  anti-­‐war  bias,  the  series  still  retains  valuable  use  in  understanding  the   war,  but  it  must  be  twinned  with  an  understanding  of  the  aforementioned  principles,  in  order  to  be   of  considerable  use.  Thus,  to  return  to  the  initial  statement  by  Richard  Nixon59,  the  Vietnam  War  has   continually  been  misreported  and  misunderstood  since  its  inception60,  and  the  greatest  source  of   this  misreporting  can  be  found  in  the  prevailing  feelings  and  attitudes  of  those  who  constitute  and   produce  history.  Conclusively,  and  with  this  in  mind,  Vietnam:  A  Television  History  is  a  biased  history   of  the  Vietnam  War.     James  Perry     Word  count:  3,038                                                                                                                                                 59  Nixon.  9.   60  PBS,  Viewer  Mail,  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/viewers.html,  accessed:  25th   December  2011.      


Bibliography   Books   Buzzanco,  Robert,  Vietnam  and  the  Transformation  of  American  Life  (Oxford:  Blackwell  Publishers   Ltd,  1999)   Brennan,  Elizabeth  and  Clarage,  Elizabeth,  Who’s  Who  of  Pulitzer  Prize  Winners  (Phoenix:  The  Oryx   Press,  1999)   DiLeo,  David,  George  Ball,  Vietnam,  and  the  rethinking  of  containment  (Chapel  Hill:  The  University  of   North  Carolina  Press,  1991)     Frisch,  M.,  ‘The  Memory  of  History’,  in  (ed.)  S.  Porter,  S.  Brier,  R.  Rosenzweig,  Presenting  the   Past,  (Philadelphia:  Temple  University  Press,  1986),  5-­‐15.   Darryl  Hamamoto,  Monitored  Peril:  Asian  Americans  and  the  Politics  of  TV  Representation   (Minneapolis:  University  of  Minnesota  Press,  1994)   Karnow,  Stanley,  Vietnam:  A  History  (London:  Century  Publishing  Co.  Ltd,  1983)   Niemi,  Robert,  History  in  the  Media:  Film  and  Television  (California:  ABC-­‐CLIO  Inc.,  2006)   Nixon,  Richard,  No  more  Vietnams  (New  York:  Arbour  House,  1985)   Rollins,  Peter,  America  Reflected:  Language,  Satire,  Film  and  the  National  Mind  (Washington:  New   Academia  Publishing,  2010)   Rosenthal,  Alan,  New  Challenges  for  Democracy  (Los  Angeles:  University  Press,  Ltd,  1988)   Journals   Dileo,  David,  ‘Vietnam:  A  Television  History’,  The  History  Teacher,  18.1  (1984),  pp.  125-­‐132   Moise,  Edwin,  ‘Recent  Accounts  of  the  Vietnam  War  –  A  Review  Article’,  Journal  of  Asian  Studies,   44.2  (1985),  pp.    343-­‐348   Nguyen,  Manh  Hung,  ‘“Vietnam:  A  Television  History”  A  Case  Study  in  Perceptual  Conflict  Between   the  American  Media  and  Vietnamese  Expatriates’,  World  Affairs  (147)  (1988),  pp.  71-­‐84   Websites   Corry,  John  (1983),  TV:  The  Tet  Offensive  in  Vietnam,  The  New  York  Times,   http://www.nytimes.com/1983/11/08/arts/tv-­‐the-­‐tet-­‐offensive-­‐in-­‐vietnam.html,  accessed:  18th   November  2011.   Denver  Post,  Review  quote  (26th  May  1997),   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/press.html,  accessed:  21st  November  2011.   Fox,  Margalit  (October  9th  2004),  Richard  Ellison,  80,  Producer  of  Documentary  on  Vietnam,  Dies,  The   New  York  Times,  


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/09/arts/09ellison.html?pagewanted=print&position,  accessed:   22nd  November  2011.       Library  of  Congress  (2005),  Vietnam:  30  Years  After,   http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=3696,  accessed:  22nd  November  2011.   Kerry,  John,  testimony  to  the  U.S.  Senate  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations  (1971),   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/psources/ps_against.html  accessed:  19th  December   2011.     PBS,  Transcript  America’s  Enemy  (1954-­‐1967),   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/pt_05.html  accessed:  19th  December  2011.     PBS,  Transcript  America’s  Enemy  (1954-­‐1967),   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/pt_05.html  accessed:  19th  December  2011.     PBS,  Viewer  Mail,  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/series/viewers.html,  accessed:  25th   November  2011.   Puzzo,  John  (2002),  Viet  Nam  and  Hollywood,  http://www.ichiban1.org/html/stories/story_18.html,   accessed:  18th  November  2011.     Question  2,  untitled  document  with  seventeen  questions  and  answers  about  the  series,  with  Richard   Ellison  answering  questions,  (Dated:  March  17th  1981),  https://luvle.lancs.ac.uk/11-­‐ 12/hist/hist256.nsf/courseMaterial.xsp?action=openDocument&documentId=D26,  accessed:  23rd   November  2011.         Reed  Irvine:  A  Biography,  http://www.reedirvine.net/biography.html,  accessed:  25th  November   2011.       WGBH/Boston  (1983),  Vietnam:  A  Television  History  America’s  Mandarin  (1954-­‐1963)  Transcript,   http://karws.gso.uri.edu/Marsh/Vietnam/103ts.html,  accessed:  25th  November  2011.        


“Vietnam: A Television History” contains elements of both pro-war and anti-war bias: Discuss.