Information dissemination during wars has received much study including the US Vietnam War which deals on the use of the media during the war. The media should refrain from taking advantage of the need of the public to be informed and freedom of speech to attain increased customer numbers (Allen & Seaton 1999). This is because information on war and conflict create much attention and the responsibility for scrutinising information falls on the media, and ensures the right information reaches the public.
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The media cannot achieve neutral journalism due to competition and unconventional methods of spreading information especially through the internet (Allan 2010, P. 20). Media houses compete for the audience and have to provide the most brutal and devastating parts of the war. However, the media must be impartial, acquire information transparently and give a positive opinion for the public on war and conflict.
Performance of the media in Vietnam War
The media performed extremely well in reporting of the Vietnam War by being impartial as the war progressed and provided the public with the correct information of the war (Der Derian 2009 P. 56). The media through its scepticism and the realisation of manipulation of the information and figures by the U.S. government intervened and provided the public the gruesome details of the war (Cottle 2004, P. 50).
The war was “lost in the living room” (Donald 2011, P. 46), due to the most brutal photographic images presented by the media. Various reports, photos and images in the media aided in ensuring the participation of an informed public including the Tet Offensive, My Lai Massacre, killing of an American soldier, a girl burned alive and the killing of Jeffrey Miller within the country (Hammond 2007, P. 34). These instances and much more demonstrate the excellent performance of the media during the Vietnam War.
Objectivity, accuracy, aesthetics or artistry of the media during Vietnam War
Professional objectivity compromise of the media happened through guidelines aimed at protecting the security of the operation (Andersen 2009, P. 40). This led to the reduction in objectivity, but later during the war the objectivity increased due to the change in the scepticism of the media on government reports leading to objectivity. The fight for clarity in 1967, after the Tet Offensive, led to increased objectivity of the media in the Vietnam War, which aided in the ending of the war (Cottle 2004, P. 50).
The accuracy of the media is questionable due to the huge influence by political powers on the journalist’s reports in Vietnam. The media houses would never publish articles or photos that depicted the situation at Vietnam. The aesthetics professional objective comes out well due to the high response rate the journalists attained from the public.
Media performance during Vietnam War
Media performance was inhibited in the period due to interference by the US government on information dissemination and security of journalists. Presence of international differences including language barrier and lack of willing printing areas led to reduced media performance during the Vietnam War. International culturally, social and political differences also inhibited journalist’s performance (Andersen 2006, P. 43). The productivity reduction led to reduced products reaching the public due to censor on images, videos and lack of enough freedom. Methods used for information dissipation was also affected due to the need to use reduced images and more wording due to International pressure.
Conventional media and communications theory, its strengths and limitations
Scholarly conventions in media and, communications theory mainly entail improvement in information technology and its application in mass media. Presence of affordable and user-friendly technology in mass media helps the public make political decisions. The new media mainly include internet and optical fibre transmission coupled with increased applications that can affect the public socially, politically, intellectually and culturally. The main characteristics of new media include interactivity, versatility, global reach, high speed, low cost and ease of use gives it an edge over traditional media (Gilboa 2002, P. 98). The various advantages include improvement of democracy, improved freedom of speech and press for all, aid in mobilisation and interactivity, reach a wider audience and reduced entry barriers.
Mainstream Media Influence, advantages and disadvantages
The mainstream media has relative influence on the general public due to the effect on the opinion of the public (Altheide 2009, P. 33). The mainstream media has a power to change people’s view on issues through print, audio, internet or visual media. The mass media has various advantages: The intellectual advantages include improved information flow to the people and educative. The historical advantages include improved accessibility, reach a wide audience and have loyal fans.
The social advantages are that it acts as entertainment and improves interaction. Culturally, the new media help in cutting out cultural and racial differences. The conventional media have limitations that include less regulation (historical disadvantage), lack of data privacy (intellectually disadvantage), presence of scamming and deception (social disadvantage) and copyright (Intellectual disadvantage).
However, the mass media has some limitations that include misrepresentation, possible manipulation of information, presence of media bias, and information can be interpreted wrongly. Other disadvantages such as short-life cycle and presentation of wrong idea may arise due to giving much attention to an issue and presence of misleading messages.
In conclusion, the media affects public opinion and can sway the public as demonstrated by the Vietnam War. The media can also be manipulated by powerful individuals and governments to serve their own agenda. The manipulation of the media has reduced recently due to emergence of conventional media and public participation in information dissemination.
Allan, S 2010, News culture, Open University Press, Berkshire and New York.
Allen, T and Seaton, J 1999, The Media of Conflict: War Reporting and Representations of Ethnic Violence, Zed Books.
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Altheide, L 2009, Terror Post-9/11 and media, Peter Lang, New York, Berlin, Brussels, Oxford.
Andersen, R 2006, A century of media, a century of war, Peter Lang, New York.
Cottle, S 2004, News, public relations and power, Sage, London, Thousand Oaks California, New Delhi.
Der Derian, J 2009, Virtuous war: mapping the military-industrial-media- entertainment network, 2nd ed, Westview Press, Colorado.
Donald, R, & MacDonald, K 2011, Reel men at war: masculinity and the American war film, Scarecrow Press, Lanham MD.
Gilboa, E 2002, Media and conflict: Framing issues, making policy, shaping opinions, Transnational, Ardsley, NY.
Hammond, P 2007, Media, war and post modernity, Routledge, London.