Culture Watch Review: Enemy of the People?
Dateline-Saigon is a powerful, haunting documentary about 5 journalists reporting the truth about the Vietnam War
Dateline-Saigon, documentary, Vietnam War, reporting, reporters, journalism, Thomas D. Herman, David Halberstam, Malcolm Browne, Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett, Horst Faas, John F. Kennedy, President Kennedy, New York Times, Associated Press, United Press International
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Santa Monica Daily Press

Culture Watch Review: Enemy of the People?


The current occupant of the White House believes that the media are the enemy of the people. “Dateline – Saigon” will remind you that it was the government, not the media, that lied about the Vietnam War. I think the parallels with today’s administration are clear enough.

And it was the “enemy of the people,” in the shape of five enterprising young investigative reporters, who unearthed the truth and exposed the lies that took place in the name of the American people, as our nation devolved deeper into the Vietnam mire.

Peter Arnett, Malcolm Browne and Horst Faas of Associated Press, David Halberstam of the New York Times, and Neil Sheehan of United Press International—all since Pulitzer Prize winning journalists—set out to see what was really happening in Vietnam. Massive numbers of soldiers, arms and aid were being sent ostensibly to prevent the “domino theory”— that communism was turning Southeast Asian nations one-by-one into puppets—from happening.

Sam Waterston narrates this documentary about the war that established the ground rules for journalists covering war for decades after, and created the antagonism that still exists today between the media and the military.

It doesn’t take much to remind me of the “weapons of mass destruction” that led to two wars in Iraq and a mission to destroy Al Qaeda in Afghanistan…and how these lies led to countless deaths in the name of protecting the US.

If you care about history, if you care about journalism and if you care about the truth, “Dateline – Saigon” is essential viewing.

By Sarah A. Spitz, Santa Monica Daily Press
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