Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Loss from the Beginning

Monday, April 03, 2006

Loss from the Beginning

Generally referred as the first televised war, the frame of vietnam war was dramatically changed by the power of the mass media. Just as Marshall McLuhan said: “Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam." In Vietnam, the government lost the battle of controlling the media at the first step.
Similar mistake repeats itself several decades later. however, this time the media lost the game at the very beginning. By consenting to join the pool system, they were doomed to failure. On the one hand, they found themselves couldn't get rid of the confinement of the pool and sought the lifeboat for objectivity under severe censorship of the Pentagon. This was a censorship conducted by restricting access and banning all reports that are regarded to have negative effect on the home front audience who can only be reached by clean and holy message. Unilateral coverage was not allowed and hardly few could afford it. meanwhile, their months' effort could be destroyed in a second by unexpected attack from all sources. media was in such a dilemma that on the other hand, they helplessly found themselves have to rely on the pool system to get information, more specifically, compete for information even within such a limited pool. Losing the trust of the Pentagon means losing the whole business. no wonder, whoever already involved didn't dare to try such a risky business trade. without resources, they can't get audiences from home front, then lose money, lose shareholders, and may fianlly be driven out of the whole market. the chain effect is horrifying and the government jumped on it and manipulated to the perfect extent that the whole war process was under control.

1 Comments:

Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good summary, but you may be over-emphasizing the control that the government gained with the pool system. Also the pool system broke down at the end of the war. It was a containment system that could not hold.

4/06/2006 12:11 AM  

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