Examining the Myths of the Vietnam War

The Culpability of the Media

Day Three -- Wednesday, July 28, 2004 Second Session 1030-1215 (Click to See Video) (Click here to see transcript) [Suggestion: you might want to listen to the Video while reading the transcript. To do this, open the Video which will take you toWindows Media Player and then minimize it and open the transcript.]

12  The Culpability of the Media – How can the public trust the institutions, which have proven so unreliable in the past and which continue to display profound bias, to be their primary source of information about the malfeasances of government? To what extent should “arranging the minds” of the enemy, our troops, our nation and other nations, as T. E. Lawrence described, be a part of our national defense.

Speakers: Dolf Droge and Charles Wiley

Speakers' Biographical Information:

Dolf Droge is a former White House National Security Council specialist who for nearly a decade was trusted by President Lyndon Johnson, President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan to respond to nation-wide requests from concerned citizens and organizations seeking information on crucial world issues; inviting him and arranging for his travel to their communities or themselves traveling to Washington D.C. seeking information and participating with him in countless face-to-face White House discussions and briefings.

Dolf Droge served in the U.S. Government for 32 years including: U.S.A.F. Korean War, (195l-54); U.S. Information Agency (l955-l966) including assignments in Thailand, Laos, Poland, Vietnam, and the Voice of America; USIA's Global Radio Network in Washington, DC (1962-1966); U.S. Agency for International Development's Training Division (USAID) l966-1985 including three assignment loans from USAID to President Johnson's White House National Security Council 1967-1969; President Nixon's National Security Council 1969-1973; and President Reagan's White House Office of Public Liaison 1983-1985.

Retiring after 32 years of U.S. Government service in 1985, Dolf has become a free-lance speaker, a member of the AIM/AEF Speakers Bureau, a Chairman of the Council for Defense of Freedom, a radio talk show host and for three years co-anchor of a national radio newshour.


Charles Wiley often lectures about Vietnam - including events in the United States, as well as those in southeast Asia.  In addition to covering the war in 1962, 1964, 1968 (the Tet Truce offensive) and 1972 (the Easter offensive), he has returned to Vietnam, North & South, and Cambodia, since the conflict.   He knows many of the key players. During critical periods, Wiley had very long one-on-one interview/briefings with General Westmoreland, Presidents Diem and Thieu, Marshal Ky and other top figures. He learned much about the Vietnam war during his many extensive trips to China, the Soviet empire and Russia. 

Wiley’s extensive knowledge about the home front during the conflict is based on vast personal experience with leaders and rank & file from both camps: those supporting the American armed forces and those in the anti-war movement. He was at numerous college teach-ins during continuous travel in the United States.                    

Charles Wiley has reported from 100 countries and regularly continues his world travels. His in-depth search for facts led to his arrest eight times by secret police throughout the globe, including the KGB, and imprisonment in a Cuban dungeon while he was a correspondent for New York City radio station WOR.   

Wiley has covered 11 wars, including reporting for NBC, UPI, the London Express and numerous other U.S. and foreign news media.   A graduate of New York University, Wiley's freelance articles and photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and Time.   A well known radio/TV talk show personality and commentator, he has appeared on hundreds of network and local programs throughout the country - including many times on CNN Crossfire and C-Span.   Wiley has lectured in all 50 states and on five continents - including talks in Germany, Taiwan, Australia, South Africa, Thailand, Belarus, Namibia and Albania. He lived briefly in the Soviet Union while giving talks at Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) University.  Wiley lectured, and resided on campus, in China (Jinan University, Guangzhou), Russia (Moscow State University) and  elsewhere abroad.

He contributed to establishing guidelines for a free press in Mongolia, spoke in Spain and Luxembourg (under the auspices of the U.S. government) and was a speaker for the White House Public Outreach Group.  Wiley has played a major role at international conferences in Great Britain and Italy - and lectured in New Zealand at the Ministry of Civil Defence Academy. He frequently addresses military audiences - in the USA and abroad – including the Naval War College, the Defense Intelligence Agency school, the Air Force school for its top NCO’s, the Navy Postgraduate School, CincPac, the UK intelligence school and many others.

Website :

Discussion Forum: Click here to discuss Session 12

Video: The Impact of Media (Requires Windows Media Player) 45 MB, 58 mins run time.
This video is Part II of Television's Vietnam, narrated by Charlton Heston and scripted by Peter Rollins. The complete video is available at the following website:

Articles of Interest:

How to Lose A War: The Press and Viet Nam By Robert Elegant
Excerpts from THE MILITARY and The MEDIA: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War by William V. Kennedy
A Battle for Truth: CNN has irresponsibly maligned the brave Special Forces members of Operation Tailwind. By Tom Stump, Philadelphia Inquirer
Media's War on Vietnam Veterans by James Webb, Wall Street Journal, July 15, 1998
Bert Kinzey on CNN
The Fourth Estate is a Fifth Column, by Bob Lonsberry
Newsroom conservatives are a rare breed, By Randy Dotinga, Christian Science Monitor, June 3, 2004
Coalition Soldiers Question News Media Following Roadside Bomb... Francis W. Porretto June 5, 2004
The Real Difference Between Iraq and Vietnam by Jack Wheeler
Fourth Estate of Fifth Column? by Thomas Sowell, Creators Syndiate, January 5, 2005

Suggested Reading:

1. Anti-Americanism: Critiques at Home and Abroad, 1965-1990; Paul Hollander; Oxford University Press, NY; 1992: Chap. 4, Mass Media: Popularizer of Social Criticism, pp 215-255.
2. Big Story: How the American Press and Television Reported and Interpreted the Crisis of Tet 1968 in Vietnam and Washington; Peter Braestrup; Presidio Press, Novato, CA; 1994.
3. Covert Cadre: Inside the Institute for Policy Studies; Steven Powell; Green Hill Publishers, Ottawa, IL; 1987: Chap. 2, IPS and the Major Media, pp 23-24; Chap. 3, Influencing the Media on Vietnam, pp 33-43; Chaps 8, 9, 10, IPS & the Media, pp 101-163; Appendix 4: IPS and the Media, p 372.
4. Dezinformatsia: Active Measures in Soviet Strategy; Richard H. Shultz and Roy Godson; Pergamon-Brassey's, NY; 1984: Vietnam War, pp vii-x, 54-57, 60, 63-66, 124-126, 181-182.
5. How to Lose a War; Robert Elegant; Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC; April, 1982 (reprint of an article in the British journal Encounter, August, 1981).
6. Losers Are Pirates: A Close Look at the PBS Series "Vietnam: A Television History" (revised edition); James Banerian; Sphinx Publishing Company, Phoenix, AZ; 1985.
7. News From Nowhere: Television and the News; Edward J. Epstein; Random House, NY; 1973: pp xi-xix, 9-19, 22, 25-29, 33, 43, 183, 187, 211-213, 248-251.
8. Target America: The Influence of Communist Propaganda on U.S. Media; James Tyson; Regnery Gateway, NY; 1988.
The MILITARY and The MEDIA: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War,
by William V. Kennedy, 1993, Praeger Publishers (Greenwood), ISBN:0-275-94191-4
Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman


The American media has been so biased and adversarial since Vietnam, is it any wonder that a fledgling foreign media source, like Al-Jazeera, does not use the anti-US sentiments of our newspapers as a role model for what a free press should be doing?