Offensive Tet Comparisons

Oftentimes, many right-of-center folks just don't realize how powerful the media is at shaping public opinion. Usually, a media outlet's endorsement of a political person or point-of-view doesn't have that much of an impact. Where the media excel, however, is in creating negative perception.

Left-wingers are intimately aware of this ability, which is why so many of them choose to get into the media (why more conservatives don't is another question). Liberal journalists care very much about their objective pose and are loathe to admit this in most cases, which makes times like now all the more worth nothing as journalists talk about the "lesson" America learned during the Vietnam War and the Tet Offensive, a campaign mounted by the communist Vietnamese in which they failed to win militarily.

Over at Opinion Journal, James Taranto takes a look at some of the recent talking head usage of Tet (including CNN outright mentioning that it is airing footage that terrorists consider vital to influencing Americans). He concludes with this:

Tet, that is, was a military victory for the U.S. that turned into a propaganda victory for the communists because American journalists presented a false picture of what had happened.

The media today are eager to repeat their "success" in Vietnam--and it was a success inasmuch as the media were hugely influential over the course of events. But from a journalistic standpoint it was a gross failure. The real lesson of Vietnam is that journalists got the story wrong. We are not at all convinced that the American people are about to get fooled again.

I think that may be too optimistic. What do you think?

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Matthew Sheffield's picture