Forty years ago last Wednesday the Tet offensive took place in Saigon. The anniversary received some attention in the media, but not as much as its historical significance deserved. This was both a massive defeat for the Communist Vietnamese forces on the battlefield and an enormous victory for them in the American media. It was one of the most important factors leading over time to the progressive betrayal of the South Vietnamese by the U.S. over the next seven years.
One of the reporters covering this event who reported it accurately at the time was my old UPI colleague, Uwe Simon-Netto, then working for a German media group. Uwe later took a vacation from journalism to obtain two advanced degrees in theology. Still later he worked with Vietnam vets to deal with the fears some had that they had been abandoned by everyone, including God.
Writing last week in the Orange County Register, Uwe describes not only some of the atrocities committed by the Communists during Tet but also the lack of interest that much of the Western media displayed in reporting those atrocities. In his article he reports the single most shocking example of media bias I’ve ever come across.
Not the media’s finest hour–which is maybe why we’ve heard relatively little about it. Meanwhile historians continue to revise their accounts of the Vietnam war. As they do, they shred the left-liberal view of it which, however, remains the conventionally accepted view in politics and the media.
Here is where John McCain might be able to win over some conservatives–by asking some very pointed questions of where Hillary and Obama stand on it today.