Friday, August 17, 2012

News reporting on Vietnam

A blast from the past -- the October 17, 1972 edition of National Review:

Link: (via

The coverage of the tremendous South Vietnamese victory at Anloc is a case in point. Time Magazine played up the physical devastation to the town, and ended on a downbeat:  "But for the foreseeable future, Anloc is dead. . . . Perhaps the best that can be said is that the city died bravely, and that — in a year that included the fall of Quangtri and Tancanh — is no small achievement." Newsweek was able to find an "American officer" who had something disheartening to say: "'Anloc, as costly as it was, can probably be considered an ARVN victory. But this thing is not over yet. The next enemy target may be Saigon itself.'"

South Vietnamese victories are almost always reported with qualifications. "The South Vietnamese are advancing, but are taking serious casualties," or "but observers fear that they may be falling into a trap," etc. It's "the North Vietnamese are still holding part of the city" instead of "the South Vietnamese have captured most of the city." While South Vietnamese "retreat," "run" or are "routed," Communists "withdraw," "regroup" or "melt away." South Vietnamese forces are either "stalled" or "bogged down." But two months after the Communist failure to take Anloc, it was the South Vietnamese relief column, not the Reds, who were "bogged down" and "stalled." The "enemy" doesn't exist for United Press International (UPI). Instructions have been given to avoid that term in referring to Hanoi.

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