tv Vietnam War and the Press CSPAN May 15, 2016 1:55pm-2:58pm EDT
[laughter] tv,ext on american history dan ratherespondent and peter arnett talk about their work on the front lines in vietnam. they tell the experiences and how they compare their experiences with the official government reports of the war. dan rather aired on cbs. and peter arnett work in vietnam for the associated press from 1962 to 1975. andrew sherry of the night foundation, a former foreign correspondent moderated the conversation. we began with a two-minute video clip of dan rather reporting from vietnam. this is part of a three-day conference at the lbj presidential library in austin, texas that organizers call the vietnam war summit. it's about one hour.
[gunfire] >> they are now hiring back. could you tell us what is happening here and what the situation is? >> i think this is the second or third day i was in vietnam. >> this is the special landing force? they were trying to get to the ridgeline. then as they begin to move aycock crossfire -- i can't crop -- i caught crossfire in a young marine was hit badly. they needed help getting him out. naturally i helped. it doesn't take much imagination to know what i was thinking. >> we need some help over here. >> i will give you a hand.
mr. rather: i see this young man cut down. says, my god, this is somebody's son, brother, husband. when you are there if you let your emotions for a second out , then you will not be able to do what you need to do. dan rather, cbs news. very few people in a lifetime get to see this as an observer. >> we are inside the main pagoda now. a tank just popped his head around the corner. mr. rather: your role is to show them and tell them as best you can what it is like, what it is really like. >> they opened up on the tank now. mr. rather: as opposed to what some an imagined it is like or telling you it is like. that waspeople believe
soldiers fear is death. that, but it's not the big fear. the biggest fear is that they will somehow let their comrade down. worthy ofr -- sold or any believe a comment on the field of battle and abandoned him. this outfit was rained on yesterday, rained on again this morning. by their going to stay out here until they find the body of rudolph nunez. >> everybody gets to be like brothers. he's the best friend you can never have. [helicopter] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome dr. don carlton, executive director of the briscoe center for american history at the university of texas at austin.
[applause] dr. carlton: good afternoon. the briscoe center is delighted to sponsor this session this afternoon, which is titled "the war and the fourth estate." we are especially proud to sponsor the session because the center houses a valuable archive of papers and photographs documenting the history of the american news media, including the papers of walter cronkite and morley safer, and the photographic archives of eddie adams, steve northrup and david kennerly. the briscoe center has produced an exhibit of documentary material selected from these and other collections relating to the various aspects of the vietnam war. "vietnam:it is titled
evidence of war," and it's currently on display of the third floor of the lbj library. i invite all of you who are attending this summit to come and visit our exhibit while you are here. today we are honored to have two renowned journalists on our panel who will explore the crucial role that the media ofyed in shaping perceptions the vietnam war. those panelists are peter arnett, a pulitzer prize and emmy award-winning correspondent who has spent nearly a lifetime covering wars and international crisis for major american news organizations. he covered the vietnam war for the associated press for 13 years, from the buildup of u.s. military advisers in the early
1960's to the fall of saigon in 1975. he wrote more than 2000 news stories from vietnam for the associated press. he has written several books, including his autobiography. his memoir on the vietnam war called "the fall of saigon." and then dan rather. my friend dan rather has been a fixture in broadcast news for over six decades. during which he has won every major journalism award. dan has interviewed every president since eisenhower and he has covered almost every important date line of the last 60 years, including of course extensive coverage of the vietnam war. cbs, 24t 43 years at years of which he served as the anchor and managing editor of
the cbs evening news. today he is founder, president and ceo of news and guts, an independent production company specializing in nonfiction content. our moderator is andrew sherry, vice president of communications at the night foundation, the country's leading funder of journalism and media animation. as a journalist he was based in hong kong, hanoi, and paris first four afp in the dow jones where he became the regional editor of the far east economic review. one of his most memorable assignments including covering the opening of vietnam. please join me in welcoming our panel today. [applause]
mr. sherry: thank you for that intro. it is great to be here. we are very fortunate to be here is long andorters storied careers personify the healthy tension between a free press and government. just a word on format. i want to spend the first half of the panel asking -- i will be leading questions to them so we can bring up a range of insights that they have to offer, which really go from experiences in vietnam to the evolution of the relationship between the press and the military in later forward toto look
the fragmentation of the media landscape and its applications are. vietnamer, you are in from your first reporting trip in 1962, before the u.s. military buildup. and you did not leave until 1975, after the fall of saigon. mr. arnett: basically yes. mr. sherry: why don't you set the scene for us. mr. arnett: i was here through the conference call yesterday and henry kissinger's presentation. overnight i made a few notes. [laughter] mr. arnett: i think it's clear from the panel discussions at this conference of an important policy of president kennedy, johnson and next in involving vietnam -- nixon involving vietnam were carefully concealed from the american public to maintain but i called. the media policies
of all three president attended heavy-handed news manipulation and intimidation of reporters in the field and their superiors back home. the objective was to proceed with actions in vietnam that have publicly debated would meet resistance at home and concern abroad. compelders endeavored to a powerful news industry with a long tradition of bold, moral reporting to bend to the whims of policymakers making questionable judgments on issues important to the american public. judgments often made far from the battlefields. in earlier significant american wars, the government, with official censorship, took upon itself the burden of deciding what news was fit to print. what information gathered by reporters in the field might harm the security of military
operations or what might not. in terms ofessage achieving the overall objectives and keeping the support of the public at large. but not for the war in vietnam. an enterprise deemed too -- let mepolitically say that again. an enterprise deemed too sensitive to justify censorship. so from the beginning, as early as june 1962 when i arrived in saigon, assigned to the ap bureau, the beginning of the credibility gap waiting media and military relations that only worsened as the years went by. in the course of our discussion this afternoon i know we will track this evolved situation that continues to plague american media relations.
these initiale remarks by quoting a letter sent to president kennedy on june 18, 1963 by the president of the american society of newspaper thenrs herbert kroeker, editor of the harvard -- he refers to an incident with a buddhist protests in saigon to the policies of president noted dim in 1963. --as beaten up by quite plainclothes police and later arrested with my ap colleague malcolm brown and held on assault charges. said, "in in part recent weeks, as you are aware mr. president, there have been charges that the enemy secret police pommel, knockdown and kicked american reporters and smashed their cameras." " it is not yet certain that all possible efforts are being made to prevent further deliberate
obstacles to free reporting." whatever the difficulties, we urge you to bear in mind the needs of the american people that have the fullest possible factual information from south vietnam, no matter what anyone may think is right or wrong about the situation there." this letter not only represented the full support of the main stream media about open reporting from vietnam at that time, but remained the view of editors and tv producers at home who supported the war in the work of journalists in the field for the entirety of the war. mr. sherry: i hope people in the audience were taking notes as well. we will open it up for questions and comments at the end. that was an interesting insight about the importance of -- from the mainstream media. dan, i'm interested in hearing
this. he went back and forth between vietnam and new york. how different was it the first time you arrived? what type of reception did you get for your reporting and how much did your network support you in telling what you thought was the complete story? mr. rather: i went the first 1965 andctober of state the better part of a year. i was back three times after that but never for that long. to answer your question, when i went to vietnam it was clear to me and it remained clear to me throughout all the time i was there that i had the complete unmitigated support of not just cbs news as a division of cbs incorporated, with the full support of the corporate entity that owned cbs news. who had found a
cbs news was still have the corporation. there was never any question whatsoever about having support of the brass back home. that was a long cbs news tradition. they helped establish it as the predominant position of electronic journals and in general. there was not any doubt about it. when i went the first time i was unprepared to cover the war. perhaps it can be said of most correspondents that they are unprepared to cover the war. i had covered the india-pakistan war in the summer of 1965. but this was the first time i have been privileged to cover american men and women. combat --ost men in exclusively men in combat. i was prepared -- unprepared is an understatement.
he was three days after i arrived. rpquickly went north to i-co and covered a combat operation near ton key. that was the first time i had seen eyewitness to war in which my neighbors and the young sons of people all over the country was involved. never got over the shock of it. wounded,screams of the the moans of the dying. when i saw the first one did american i had ever seen in combat i had no apology for saying i threw up and then i wept. what was the impact that your reporting was having back in the united states?
peter, you are writing for the associated press and it was being sent all around the world. what kind of feedback we do getting of the impact of your storytelling? mr. arnett: for the first three months i was there in 1962 we were getting messages from "howngton bureau saying, come their coverage in washington of the government, the pentagon, the state department, and the white house -- 180 degrees difference from what was happening in vietnam?" those of us in vietnam were not concerned too much about our buddies in washington. we were concerned about what we were seeing in the field. when i was assigned the vietnam, the ap president said peter, report the truth, report when you see and we will support you all the way.
david halberstam came from the new york times, malcolm brown from the ap with a great photographer, stanley carnot was coming in and out of hong kong for time magazine, all of us were reported but we refining. what were refining? 10,000 when iers, arrived, would go to saigon or meet in the field and start complaining about the reluctance of the south vietnamese military to listen to their advice. there was an incident at a battle in the first few days of 1963 where several american helicopters were shot down and americans were killed on the ground. we were tipped off by one of the pilots that call this to tell us about this. neil sheehan and the reuters guy flew in a helicopter to the
scene. i drove down 40 miles south of saigon with steve stevens, a texan working for the stars and stripes of the time. theot our information from americans on the ground. the information we were getting also politically was that the american role in vietnam was not working. i will add one whether point -- one point. in december 1962, the speaker of the senate mike mansfield visited vietnam of the team. he asked to meet us at the hotel. we thought he wanted us to brief him. he briefed us on what he felt were the negatives about the regime, the information being picked up all week during his visit. he criticized the american embassy. and what was interesting is he
went back and briefed president kennedy on his version of the war, which was very similar to our version. this did not stop the pressure because soon after that president kennedy called me -- ing editor of the new york times asked that he be reassigned. mr. rather: when i first got the vietnam, from the very first moments i was in vietnam the distance between what was the reality on the ground, what you poor witness to, and what was being spoken of washington and being talked about all over the country was that such variance it was a shock. it was a shock to never subsided. from the moment you were in vietnam, you had to say to yourself what i'm seeing is not matching with the politicians are saying. there, thei was greater this cap..
-- gap got. when i came out of vietnam the first time after being there i was made the white house correspondent for cbs news. i was in associated press -- johnson said perhaps you would like to come to the briefing room downstairs. it's called the situation room. we can give you a briefing on what is going on. , aound it somewhat curious briefing by people who never been there. [applause] [laughter] they had only been there for a very short time. and itver left my mind underscores much of what peter just referred to. i'm down in the situation room and a good and decent american, a very intelligent gentleman gave her briefing on the
battlefield situations. he pointed with his pointer towards one particular place on near whatian border became known as the hook. he was describing the success of our armor there. one of two things is very evident. i hate to use the word, either he is lying through his teeth or he is vastly misinformed because just before i left saigon i had been in the very area which is swampy. believe you me nobody takes armor in there. it in cap sold -- and psuled.d -- enca and i think he believes it.
there was the nut of the problem for me. the people who would been there, people like peter barnett -- let me pause and say there's never been a braver or more -- a correspondent with more valor that was there for all those years. the kind of things that peter wasmalcolm brown reported in such variance that if you had any decency as a journalist you had to say i have been there. i spent almost more than a year there. -- does notas in match this breathing i'm getting. if that's the briefing the president got, then we can see how the problem developed over the years. it iserry: what you think that made the relationship between the press, military and government so different in vietnam than it was in world war ii or korea?
it seems like some of the military assumed it was a problem with society or the press. but if the nature of the conflict was fundamentally different and it led people to behave differently. which do you think? mr. arnett: i will answer that. censorship was a difference. every member talking to walter cronkite about censorship and world war ii. he says i did not particularly liked it. i did have access to the whole war. he flew over normandy in a glider on d-day. he said at least ahead access to the war. after the war we could come out and we know all about it. censorship was not introduced into vietnam. i interviewed the secretary of state. feel thee did not climate -- political climate at the time would have supported that kind of onerous
restrictions involving having censorship of the war theater. ok. but without censorship we were free to go and report stories where we can find them. what is not understood is that each american division that landed in vietnam came from hometown, from fort bragg, fort hood. the25th infantry division, pineapple division from hawaii. those soldiers one of the folks back home to know what they were doing in vietnam. the information officers from these units would come to saigon and lobby for the attention of the media. i'm sure dan was invited many times. the marines had a very successful operation to invite journalists. all the units wanted our appearance. stories, many
written with these troops in the field. cap getting invited back. so in terms of the antagonism between the military and the media, it did not exist in vietnam. if you feel antagonist? mr. rather: quite the contrary. this is a point. with television even more than you have to have the pictures. journalist, wea had an ideal situation. i think the military felt they had an ideal situation. peter's point that the military wanted you to be upfront. they wanted you to be the -- be in the middle of combat. they wanted you to fill it --film it. we could go anywhere in vietnam
that we wanted to go. basically we were in the hitchhiking business, sometimes the helicopter, sometimes by plane. once in a while the ground convoy. but you could go anywhere. we've reported individual correspondents. i did it from the far north to the mequon delta and saw everything in between. the military during the war was either for correspondents to see the war as it was and have a transmitted back to the states. they were eager. on the question of censorship, i agree the big difference was in world war ii and the korean war there was censorship. no censorship during the vietnam war. frankly, i think the american people were served much better by the circumstances in vietnam vis-a-vis the press and the military than it ever had been.
decent, hard-working people could disagree with -- in the military and what led to restrictions. for example, compared gulf war one in 1990 two the first gulf war. the whole mindset changed. they did not want correspondents to see combat. they successfully prevented it, of what i would call the ernie pyle dogface coverage of what the soldier was going through. there was a change between gulf war 1 and what happened in vietnam. the military thought they learned a lesson. they've learned the wrong lesson. it was keep the press out. don't let the sea with the war is like. one of the vietnam,
things the military and the administration put with kennedy, johnson, or nixon administration wanted you to see was the effective war on civilians. anybody that is seen were knows this truth. war is idiotic, terrible, ghastly, savage for everybody involved. those who suffer the most are women, children, and old people. the military never wanted you to see the civilian casualties. i never wanted to emphasize that. going 40 gulf war 1 -- going 1990,d to gulf war 1 in it was our job. you keep the press out. keep the press of from anything approaching frontline combat and don't let them see any civilian casualties. mr. arnett: there are a couple of points to make. with dan being here, but i will
tell the story. morley safer, who i hear is quite ill these days, he did a piece from a village in vietnam in 1965 that was shown on cbs. president johnson watched it, pick up the phone in the early hours of the morning and called the president of cbs, dr. frank stanton. frank, your boy this morning shat on the flag because of the nature of this report. i will give you a few other things. the johnson administration tried to limit the coverage the ap was a prime target. my own reports, graphic reports that dan has been talking about, gas experiments and the military operations early in the war, equipment failures, weapons shortages so angered washington
that president johnson ordered the fbi at one point to go through my life looking for dirt to silence me. he did the same with john chancellor. ap headquarters was aware of the generalities of the criticism, but only much later did we learn the extent of white house unhappiness. press secretary bill moyers, a revered journalist later and assure a good pal of yours, thatved in 1965 memo the coverage of cbs correspondents was "irresponsible and prejudiced" and because we were foreign-born we did not have the basic american interest at heart. morley was from canada. moyers problems -- promised to tighten things up. i was indeed foreign-born from new zealand, but some of my old
schoolmates were officers in the kiwi new zealand forces in vietnam and australia in combat alongside u.s. soldiers. one presidential assistance? valantieard -- jack wrote "the mode to bring up the problem of peter arnett, who has been more damaging to the u.s. cause than a hope italian of viet cong -- battalion of viet cong." [laughter] mr. arnett: gallagher was prepared to encounter the criticism had a briefcase full of facts this -- disputing the stories. prior to the meeting, two ap never managing editors reported to gallagher that the president had complained to them about my coverage. in the ap chief went to the
meeting anxious to resolve this issue. the american president and gallagher where a formidable pair, both were tall, tough people. tough-minded. entrye luncheon went on to an end with no mention of the war. gallagher said at last, mr. president, and understand you are being critical of some of the ap story some vietnam. oh no, the president replied. i think the ap is doing a great job. thewilling to challenge president on what he is been told a few days earlier from other managing editors, oliver said, i just want you to know, mr. president, that the ap is not against you or for you. well, johnson replied, that is not quite the way i like it. [laughter]
mr. rather: one important thing rings through here. let's take the great report on the burning of a village. it was a shock. the difference between yesterday's vietnam and today, it's important without being preachy for every citizen to understand while it's true the president johnson picked up the phone and gave frank stanton, the second man down of the cbs corporate entity, gave him unmitigated hell about the report and applied maximum pressure, at no time was or even the slightest indication that bill paley who owned the company or dr. stanton who ran the company was going to influence coverage in any way. abc.was true of nbc and
grasped thatbe quality journalism whether it's covering the war anything else, it begins with an owner, a publisher, leader who has guts. who will back his reporters. paley. i know of no instance in which they caved to it. now, some 50 some odd years later, the whole corporate naturale of so much of -- national distribution news is controlled by two conglomerates. there is a whole different atmosphere. journalists are at -- are operating in a different kind of arena. all too often, the corporate leadership does not have the sensitivity about the value to
society, to american society of , fiercelydependent independent press. during the vietnam war, that existed at almost every corporate level. i'm sorry to say it no longer exist. it's an interesting point. there was very little criticism during the actual coverage of the war. there were reporters everywhere and we were welcome, willing to take every kind of risk for a story and there were soldiers who appreciated our company. it was in the latest stages, the nixon presidency where there was no real victory insight that the tension started to materialize. i have a quick note here from william hammond who did an
official study and wrote in one book that in the and what happened in vietnam, what happened in the news media was symptomatic of what happened in the united states as a whole and mentioned the u.s. has supported -- as didfort at did most america and containing russia behind an anti-communist the at mom and said under the influence of many that's and contributions, the public changed in the american society moved to repudiate the earlier news organizations and newspapers that supported the war started to turn against it. the military and the government was unable to follow this idea that the war was not worth
and with most of the soldiers out, those who were remaining behind in vietnam in ,he embassy or military units they stayed to retrieve whatever national face they could, those emotionally tied to the policy fixed their anger on the news media. component thate rejected them and what we see today became the most inevitable results. it was only after the war that we had these numerous meetings between the media and the military arguing about policy. war.s because we lost the the press would not have faced the kind of criticism that exists today.
>> both of you brought up a number of significant things regarding the war in the fourth estate and significant changes over time. you talked about how when you go to the first gulf war, the military learned some good vietnam and having a plan for pulling out afterwards, but the lesson they took for the press was to allowinghem by only embedding or mostly allowing embedding. government war, the almost went on the offensive weaponsormation about of mass destruction that turned out not to be accurate. that, how much of the things around the iraq , people in then
pentagon playing the new york caught upas the press in the patriotic fervor post 9/11 and actually drop the ball? mr. rather: i think the latter is the greater truth. of the timeicism iading up to the iraqi war, do not accept myself that by the time he got up to the invasion of the iraq war, there were certainly exceptions, the no venti group was an example. point,time we reach that american journalism in general and ist some of its spine speak for myself and others
noting that there are some exceptions, got caught up in questions that arise in your mind that say if you raise those questions, you are going to pay a very heavy price. i've used this metaphor for because to ask the tough question and ask the tough follow-up question because frequently your follow-up question elicits more than the original question. you will have a sign around your liberal, unpatriotic, bolshevik. there are no excuses by way of explanation. we lost our guts in many ways. the question needs to be asked, but this train is rolling and we are going to war. every journalists do it.
it was palpable but nobody wanted to talk about it. a certain amount of cowardice. if you question us too much, if you don't get on board this invasion train, you are going to wind up metaphorically, like in south africa when the worst of the south african civil war was underway, they would put a earning tire around people's net. , if not that sign marking you as an unpatriotic person, you are going to have this burning tire put around you. this is not by way of excuse. it is by way of explanation with the press, noting there were some exceptions said the president of the united states it's about stopping
possible nuclear war or chemical warfare. there was talk about being tied into al qaeda which was also untrue. lost ourg said if we guts or if you like the spine metaphor better, when the president of the united states who is not only head of state but head of government, when he says something and the whole administration was orchestrated from one point of view, then any voices of dissent to oppress or otherwise got obliterated and most of us did not speak up when we should have spoken up and did not ask the right questions. case -- frankly, we americans are afraid to use the word cap agenda. there was an immense campaign to build public opinion for the war
and i complement those in journalism who stood up in the face of that. the first goal war really changed the nature of foreign coverage. it represented the american the one created tomhe 80's and ultimately johnson decided to expand the restraint beyond american and to cover the other side and look at both sides of the story. this hadn't happened in the past. saddam hussein and his people invited cnn to stay and other media were included that it was cnn that decided to stay in baghdad.
why did we do that? one was the vision of ted turner who believed cnn could be a get both sides of international stories in particular. we could was effectively do live coverage of a war theater. was helped by your own tom johnson who had taken over cnn and had used this context to have one of the first cell in as, which was 80 pounds box and sent to baghdad. then when the war started, we were able to cover it despite great objection by the u.s. andrnment and others opponents of moving in that direction to get the other side coverage. my interview with saddam hussein
attract a lot of criticism but then did not attract any criticism at all. from being a story that was covered to the moment american troops were in action, ,t became forbidden territory but not to ted turner and not to cnn. i was the only reporter for much a the war in baghdad covering wonderful team covering it live. there were 40 other live television units and the whole nature of international coverage changed because the allowed reports from ordinary people all across the globe. this, there was a negative effect on the u.s.
they closed upe the access to their own people and because of this barrage of information, they wanted to control it. but by doing that, journalists in iraq who were unhappy with the embedding were reluctant to do much coverage with the u.s. because you couldn't take any pictures of wounded americans or any american casualties. but reporters could go all over the countryside. most pulitzer prizes given for international coverage, including this year's was stories about ordinary people living in victims of the war. to a stories added up
criticism of american involvement. ofwas an explosive mixture technology. mr. rather: we have not talked much about technology but in thinking about vietnam, it has in more than 50 years ago. in the it mom, keep in mind there was no life battlefield coverage. in vietnam, we mentioned earlier in film, if you filmed the battle, there was no putting up on the satellite in vietnam. not only were there no cell phones, there were virtually no telephone contact. yes, if you happen to be in saigon and stood in line at the government building -- the only communication was basically by
telex. you put it on the helicopter and we had yellow grapefruit bags on cbs news which we made a point to say if you see a yellow grapefruit tag, get it to the airport in saigon and ship it to tokyo. way,ilm has to find its making its way to saigon, where a jet plane takes it to tokyo and is transferred to a flight to san francisco and that gets to new york. generally speaking, there were a few exceptions, but whatever you saw on the evening news was at least three or four days old. where if at to today story is three or four days old, it's not going to see care. communication not
just for journalistic enterprises, no telephone service to speak of, no satellite access to speak of translated to a sense with troops in the field and i always want to come back to the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen who fought this war, alonenessa sense of and a sense of being in an alien land which is almost totally different from today. can get on skype and talk to his children on their birthday on their birthday while he is in a combat region. so far from the reality of coverage in vietnam that it frequently gets overlooked but it is worth considering when we talk about the media and the press in general with the it mom. the difficulties of getting these stories out, never mind the pressure from the administration of propaganda, just the physical problem of
getting reports out even if you were with the ap. were not going to cover the war from saigon or from a marine enclave. you have to be in the field. the problem of getting your report from the field to someplace where it could be transmitted back to the united states was a hard proposition on a day-to-day basis. one of the problems is you have official statements and commitments of troops to one place or another and it ethical to get public interest in the kind of investigative reporting more inside stories that were common in vietnam. out on theis missing picture that was important to their understanding. what i think is lacking today
and what you do not see any more are what we call the hometown stories about soldiers in action, the daily routine and thekind of reporting -- where is the ernie pyle of vietnam. you don't have anyone -- you don't see the stories because if you are embedded with the u.s. military, they don't encourage soldiers to talk about it much. that is lacking in the american public and the family -- families of those men over there missing out are getting -- on getting a sense of view of what is happening. worthther: this is pondering. during the vietnam war, ,oldiers, including officers with the exception of possibly
generals, soldiers were free to talk to reporters anyway they wanted to. today, even platoon commanders are schooled on how to handle the press. they operate on a set of rules. vietnam, captains and sergeants were the keys to knowing how the war was really going. the links and breadth of my own time in vietnam, i never had someone field grade officer or below tell me anything except what they thought was true. it was not uncommon to take incoming mortar rounds or fire say -- andtain might i will clean this up for this audience, he might say we are getting our butts kicked here. the coverage would reflect they were getting their butts kicked in that particular area. get you probably could not
to a frontline situation where you are taking incoming. second, if you got there, the captain would be very reluctant to talk to any journalists because he's been taught to be careful of the press and that seeps down to the sergeants and people down below them. it is a whole different dynamic. the advantage of being in the field was you could find out what was really going on as opposed to what somebody wanted you to believe what was going on. >> where do we go from here? talked about the changes in corporate structure where you have news divisions and all of these have made a difference and you mentioned technology which has produced a complete fragmentation of the we havendscape, but talked about something that may be lost.
this conversation seemed to be about the press and conflict with other entities. you have talked about the role the press plays building trust in a democratic society so that it can actually function. if that is at the root of what the fourth estate is about, how do we move toward rebuilding that in the current context? mr arnett: that is a very good point and i think what has to be renegotiating between the mainstream media and important organizations and the military about how to approach the story of young americans committed to war and several countries whose story is not being told. today, when you have an incident overseas like seal team six does something, we are never told about it. you wait five years for the books to come out. 15 or 20here have been
books on the death of saddam and in lawton. delay and learning with these boys are doing over there and i think the pentagon should get together with the media operatives and talk about how do we improve the embedding to where we get to tell the story? sent overseas, 300 going to syria, some will get their lives. what they are doing is far more important than the political campaigns being launched at this moment that dominate the news. [applause] mr. rather: amen to that. true that in a society such as ours, a constitutional
the principleson of freedom and democracy, it is absolutely essential, never more imperative than during wartime that there be a high degree of communicable trust between the leadership and the lip. what happened in vietnam, a lot of that communicable trust built fracturede years was and got worse as time went along. your question is where do we move from here? would heads than mine have to come up with a link the answer to that question but you can begin with political leaders, whether they be republican, democrat, muslim, independent, whatever, understanding how vital it is to build that trust with the public and you cannot build that trust if you run an administration, whether it is county judge or
president of the united states, if you are operating behind the scenes and create an atmosphere of deceit and lawlessness. unfortunate and unpleasant truth, but it is the truth. as the vietnam war wore on and we went from the kennedy administration -- by the time we got to the next and administration, there's no joy in saying this -- the record is clear that you had an administration led by a president who did deal in deceit and did deal in lawlessness and repairing this split between the trust and the leadership, reporters are trained to be skeptical, not cynical, but skeptical, to ask questions. you should always say that's what they are saying, what is the truth behind them?
with political leadership, it begins there and there has to be a rededication. you cannot sustain a war, much less hope winning the war unless there's a high degree of .ommunicable trust to the invasion in iraq, what the president said were the reasons for going into iraq were not true. people can argue did he know it was not true or not, but whether he did or didn't know, he had plenty of reasons to question it. running for the foreseeable future, this is going to cause us continual problems. sometimes, war is imperative. americans say world war ii was not a choice. but having the public recognize what war is and my concern about
television coverage of war is that it tends to flatten were out. perspective, context, particularly any historical context and the very fact you have a flat screen, it is hard to describe it. with the television camera, the viewer has to understand when he is looking at war coverage that the camera is like a flashlight. the camera shows you what is at the end of the beam but does not show you what is above, below, or on either side. understanding the limitations of television coverage, this , it'sss of building trust going to be slow but we have to start sometime and now would be a good time to start.
mr arnett: a new generation of young journalists being produced high this university and others around the country are up to the challenge. they want to get out -- the successes of dan rather and myself, they want to emulate what we do. they are ready to go out and with the cooperation of the military and news industry, they want to tell the story about american boys overseas and i hope that will happen. fear what happened has happened. we have run out of time. you will have to find dad -- find and or peter afterwards. aside. pull them please join me in thanking them for a fantastic question and answer session. [applause] mr arnett: thank you.
that was great. mr. rather: thank you very much. mr arnett: it is a live audience. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> next, we will hear from pulitzer prize-winning photographers who were recognized for their work time work in vietnam. -- wartime work in vietnam. we will hear their stories behind the image and their impact on the american view of the the and note.