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May 30, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Pach in New York Times | ‘Lyndon Johnson’s Living Room War’

Dr. Chester Pach

Dr. Chester Pach

Dr. Chester Pach authored a May 30 op-ed in the New York Times headlined “Lyndon Johnson’s Living Room War.” Pach is Associate Professor of History at Ohio University.

On May 31, 1967, an ABC news anchor, Frank Reynolds, introduced a film report from Vietnam in an unusual way. He told viewers that they were seeing something unprecedented — a war that television was bringing into their living rooms….

Michael Arlen popularized the term “living-room war” while writing for The New Yorker during the 1960s. Arlen praised much of the reporting from Vietnam, but wondered how much three-minute stories contributed to public understanding of the war. A half-century later, we have no conclusive proof that television had a decisive effect on public attitudes toward Vietnam.

We do know, however, that TV reports made a deep impression on one crucial viewer, Lyndon Johnson. Johnson was the first president, but hardly the last, who thought that what people saw on television might be as important as what actually happened on the battlefield.

Read the rest of the story in the New York Times.


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