Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It was 40 years ago

Richard Nixon, speaking about the media coverage of the Vietnam War, said that

It was complicated by factors that had never before occurred in America’s conduct of war. The American news media had come to dominate domestic opinion about it purpose and conduct…..Eventually this contributed to the impression that we were fighting in military and moral quicksand, rather than toward an important and worthwhile objective
(Richard Nixon, the memoirs, Grosset and Dunlop,1978,New York,p350)

It is forty years since events around the world from Vietnam,Paris,Prague and Chicage were portrayed in the media.It was a landmark in media coverage.Protesters on the streets of America would shout that the whole world is watching at the riot police.For the first time,the nightly news would show in graphic detail what some thoight were revoltionary events which would change the shape of the world.It wasn,t quite to be.The war in Asia contiued for 6 more years,Soviet tanks put down a popular uprisinga and a Prague spring would have to wait another 20 years.the youth culture in the West would experience the realities of 1970's economics.

Sean O'Hagan writes of one of its heroes Daniel Cohn Bendit

The catalyst for his fame was television. In 1968 two technological innovations transformed the nightly news reports: the use of videotape, which was cheap and reusable, instead of film, and the same-day broadcast, which meant that often unedited images of rebellion were disseminated across continents almost as they happened. Student protesters in Berkeley and Columbia cheered their TV sets as footage from the Paris barricades made the American news in May, while French students took heart from images of the huge anti-war demonstrations now occurring across Europe and America.

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