By Kellie Shirk
The Communications Department produced there 15th “Reporting the World” on Thursday for the PBS adult education program.
The program was titled, “Vietnam and Desert Storm: Media and the Military at War.”
The program was an opportunity to look at the conflict between media and war, as well as how common ground can be reached, said John Dancy, visiting communications professor.
Dancy is the International Media Studies director at BYU and was also the moderator for the program.
The program included a panelist of experts in the field: Barry Zorthian, former chief spokesman for the United States in Vietnam; David Burrington, former NBC News war correspondent in Vietnam; and Colonel James Fetig, former spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House.
Fetig is also the author of a study of media and military during the Operation Desert Storm, Dancy said.
The media and military came into conflict following the Vietnam War.
In his opening remarks, Dancy said, “It has now been 30 years since the end of the Vietnam War, more than 10 since Desert Storms, but the echoes of the battle between the military and media lives on.”
The battle is due partly to the vast difference in media access to the war.
During Vietnam, Burrington said the media enjoyed “enormous access to the battlefield.”
However, after the United States left Vietnam unsuccessful, the myth spread that “the media lost the war,” Fetig said.
By the time the United States sent soldiers to Desert Storm almost 20 years later, media access to the battlefield and information was very limited.
Fetig said the military was determined not to let Iraq know what was going on through news reports.
In the end, the marines who had opened up to the media became the heroes of the war, while no one knew what the army did, Fetig said.
If the United States is ever involved in another war, media access would be unclear.
Zorthian said he believes there will never again be controlled war coverage.
Burrington, however, said he believes that though the media will never have as extreme limited access as they did during Desert Storms, there will still be some restrictions.
Students were invited to participate as audience members.
“Reporting the World” is produced twice a year at BYU.
The date for airing the show is still unknown.