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CBS is Rather Biased

One of the most significant aspects of the war was the media coverage, which often shaped public opinion about the events unfolding overseas. Among the major news networks, CBS was one of the most influential sources of information, and their coverage of the war has been widely criticized for being anti-war and manipulative. In this article, we will explore how CBS manipulated the news during the Vietnam War, their anti-war stance, the infamous 60 Minutes interview with General William Westmoreland, and the subsequent lawsuit that led to CBS paying out damages.

CBS News, Anti-War Sentiment, and the Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War, CBS News held a prominent position in shaping public opinion, as millions of Americans relied on television news as their primary source of information. The network\’s coverage of the war was heavily criticized for its perceived bias against the conflict, with many accusing CBS of promoting an anti-war agenda. CBS News, led by legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite, often portrayed the war in a negative light and emphasized stories about casualties, protests, and disillusionment among American soldiers.

One of the key events that fueled these accusations was the 1968 Tet Offensive, a large-scale military campaign launched by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces against South Vietnam and the United States. CBS News painted the Tet Offensive as a massive failure for the US military, despite the fact that the North Vietnamese forces suffered heavy casualties and ultimately failed to achieve their strategic objectives. This negative portrayal of the Tet Offensive reinforced the idea that the United States was losing the war and helped to turn public opinion against the conflict.

The Infamous 60 Minutes Interview of General William Westmoreland

In 1982, CBS\’s flagship news program, 60 Minutes, aired a controversial interview with General William Westmoreland, who had been the commander of US forces in Vietnam during the height of the conflict. The interview, conducted by CBS correspondent Mike Wallace, was part of a documentary called \”The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception,\” which accused Westmoreland and the US military of deliberately underestimating enemy troop numbers to create the illusion of progress in the war.

During the interview, Wallace confronted Westmoreland with allegations that he and other high-ranking officials had engaged in a conspiracy to deceive the American public and Congress about the true nature of the war. The general vehemently denied these accusations, but the damage was done: the documentary painted Westmoreland as a deceitful and dishonest figure, further eroding public trust in the military and the government\’s handling of the war.

The Westmoreland vs. CBS Lawsuit

Following the broadcast of the 60 Minutes interview, General Westmoreland filed a $120 million libel lawsuit against CBS, alleging that the network had defamed him by falsely accusing him of participating in a conspiracy to deceive the American public. The lawsuit was one of the most high-profile libel cases in American history and brought intense scrutiny to CBS\’s journalistic practices and the accuracy of their reporting on the Vietnam War.

The trial began in 1984 and lasted for several months, with Westmoreland\’s legal team seeking to prove that CBS had knowingly and maliciously broadcast false information about the general. Meanwhile, CBS defended its reporting, arguing that the documentary was a fair and accurate portrayal of the facts.

In the end, the case was settled out of court in 1985, with both parties agreeing to a joint statement that acknowledged the \”uncertainties and complexities\” surrounding the reporting of enemy troop strength during the Vietnam War. Although CBS did not admit to any wrongdoing or pay any damages.

This was the very same outcome of the lawsuit Dominion voting machines vs Fox News Channel. Yet, if you go back in time to 1982 the media glossed over the CBS Settlement.

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