Linda Roman has lived In the united States for nearly 8 decades. In her time, she’s seen major American and International events break over radio waves, In black and white, color, in print and on Twitter. War has been a major part of the media landscape over the past 80 years, and has helped form public opinion in support or against war. The role that media has played in major wars of the 20th century is vital, and has helped spur or stop conflicts. As technology has developed, so has the ways that war has been reported. The differences between the technological outlets that
World War Two and the Vietnam War were reported through, directly led to two different sets of public opinion in the 20th Century. Linda Roman was born on June 5, 1935 in Bantering, NY. She is a 78 year old Caucasian woman who was married for 30 years, and Is now divorced. Roman considers Bantering, NY to be her hometown. She attended Syracuse university for two years, but failed to complete a degree. She has three daughters. Roman’s father served In the military during World War II, flying In the “Army Alarm Force,” as It was called at the time, according to Roman.
She remembered being frightened by the World War II on the radio. I was quite scared,” Roman said, “but I was a young teenager, too, and I was not kind that would voice these things to anyone. I would lay in bed at night and be afraid that bombs would come and we’d all die in the morning. ” The war affected her quite a bit, as she feared for her father’s life as he was off fighting in World War II. The development of media and technology over time is strongly visible in how World War II and the Vietnam War were reported on.
The impact of different technological mediums of the two separate time periods also served to influence how to Information was conveyed and received by the public. The media played a major role In defining the Issues and In shaping public pollen about them throughout World War II, as well as Vietnam. “The war of words and Images became one of the most Important struggles of World War II. AXIS nations used the news and entertainment media- and even the arts- to build national unity among their own people, to try to bolster or gain support from other nations, and to try to discourage their enemies-I” Roman’s father served in World War II.
She was too young to remember much about how the news was reported on, but she recalled that the radio was a large factor during that time period. L can always really understand what he was talking about, but I remember my grandparents always “shushing” me. Later, of course, I learned of his fireside chats as well as more about what was going on in the Second World War. ” She felt it was a mix of radio and newspaper that were the main media channels of the day. Radio had a huge presence in the homes of Americans during World War II.
President Roosevelt “Day of Infamy” address was delivered on December 8, 1941, the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and was trumped across all news outlets. 2 Congress declared War and he country reacted similarly to 9/1 1, proclaiming World War II as “our war. “3 Radio broadcasters were welcomed into the homes of American citizens each night, all- eager to hear updates on the warrant. Edward Morrow of CBS brought radio listeners into the scene with his famous nightly broadcasts from London, peppered with the sound of bombs exploding in the background.
The United States had 56 million radio sets that all ears were tuning into during World War 11. 4 Walter Winched and Lowell Thomas were two other famous broadcasters who were famous during World War 11. 5 World War II was much more censored than the Vietnam War. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Military enforced censorship was imposed and President Roosevelt created the “Office of Censorship”6. Additionally, radio and newspapers lacked the visuals that television did, which failed to convey the carnage of war and created more of a detached outlook for the American public, unlike the more visceral reporting of Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War was the first to be televised, as well as the first war in which the United States lost. 7 Americans, including Roman, were regularly inundated with footage of planes, troops, and the undeniable carnage of war. In the asses, there were 3. 1 million television sets in homes across America. 8 The media’s changing relationship with the government was most visible after the Vietnam War. The most famous image that comes to mind is the photo of Major General Unguent NCO Loan executing handcuffed prisoner Unguent Van Elm, a suspected Viet Gong. The photo is one of stark brutality, and is still famous today.
The media had three angles of covering the war in Vietnam: with those fighting in Vietnam, those in Congress, and the public. 9 The massacre at My Alai village and the release of the Pentagon Papers only served to worsen the public pinion of the government actions regarding the war. 10 The My Alai massacre was the killing of 300 to 500 Vietnamese soldiers, which was uncovered by reporter Seymour Hers. The massacre created a media circus, with pictures of the victims circulating heavily. The Pentagon Papers was another huge blow to the reputation of the American government in the eyes of the public and the media. Whereas in the asses and asses the media generally were supportive of government, the period after the Vietnam war saw a swing toward a neutral-to-antagonistic attitude. 11″ The Pentagon Papers exposed how the government had “created a widespread effort to device reporters regarding events in Vietnam. 12″ This included releasing lower casualty numbers than was reality, as well as reporting less successful battles. The television reporting on Vietnam placed the American public directly in the action, where it could not be unseen. Roman did not even want to discuss details of the war, for reasons unbeknownst to me. The effects of this new medium [television] directly helped to cause the mass protest movement against the war as they presented public of the New Left. 3″ The American people did not see the glorified successes, giant armies, and positive outlook like they did from the media in World War II. The differences between the technological reporting outlets that World War Two and the Vietnam was reported through led to two different sets of public opinion. World War II used mainly radio and newspaper, while Vietnam was heavily broadcasted. The media’s reporting contributed to the disaffection of the American public toward the leaders in Washington, D. C. 14” As mentioned earlier, the My Alai massacre and Pentagon Papers were major factors in swaying public and media opinion. I was mostly surprised at Roman’s reluctance with discussing the Vietnam War. To quote the transcript, I asked “As you got older, how did the media change it’s reporting of the war? For example, Vietnam is often called the first “TV war”… Would you agree? ” Roman replied “l would. I was in my ass when all of that was going on, and it sure was a mess.
Seeing the violent images really created a negative impression about the war, to say the least… ” When I asked her to elaborate, she refused in a very wary manner, saying “l don’t really want to get into all of that mess if we don’t have to. Roman spoke openly about her childhood when her father served in World War II, but she wouldn’t speak about Vietnam, which I found curious. I’m not sure if it was because of someone close to her serving in the war, or if she didn’t want to discuss the political ramifications, but it was unfortunate.
Since this is what I wanted to focus my paper on, her unwillingness to speak about this war was disappointing. I broached the topic again later, but she still didn’t want to talk about it. It also surprised me how ambivalent Roman was to media in general. She didn’t have as many moving stories about media that I thought she would, and was pretty laced about expressing her lack of knowledge about things that had occurred during her lifetime. She also expressed a general mistrust of politicians and media, separately.
She feels that media generally perpetuates the issues and draws them out longer than necessary, such as things like the Casey Anthony trial and mass shooting cases. The development of television technology dramatically changed the way the American public viewed war, and directly influenced public opinion. There was a shift from World War II to the Vietnam War of less detached sentiment and more of a resume reality. The ability for Americans to view the actual results of war through film created a negative sentiment about the war.
The less visual world of radio and newspaper during World War II allowed for people to create their own, less violent, images of war in their minds. The power of technology development on media and the war directly affected the war effort. Conducting research through the oral history method was much harder than I believed it would be. My subject was not as forthcoming as I had hoped she would be, but she was an interesting subject nonetheless.