Vietnam War media parallels

In the 1950s, there were only 9% of American homes that owned a television. But by 1966, that figure spiked to 93%.

What’s important to understand here is that 58% of US citizens said that they “got most of their news” from television.

This is why television became the most important source of news for American people during the Vietnam era.

And that continued for a long time after. Until smart phones.

According to the Pew Research Center, 55% of U.S. adults now get their news from social media either “often” or “sometimes”. This means the medium has shifted in how we consume our news in the last ten years or so (no surprise).

We are now seeing live coverage of conflicts with police and protesters. For many, this is the first we have seen such coverage like this for the masses.

It is the same as dropping a TV into people’s living room for the first time.

It isn’t difficult to find footage of someone dying on the internet. That shock is powerful. Powerful enough to spark a movement, to get people off the sidelines.

We have got to be careful and be sensitive about this type of content. The social media rules on this hasn’t been written. More importantly, we don’t want people dying in vain. The cause is too important.

Media played a huge role in public opinion with the Vietnam War. Now, we are the media. You are a news channel and you can help shape the narrative going forward.

We must understand, once we know someone personally who has been affected by racism, we are more inclined to act.

Share your story so we can hear your voice.