Ted Welch looks at the way in which recent wars have been presented on TV and the effects this presentation has had, in turn, upon the conduct of these wars.
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|Ted Welch; Morley Safer; Jeremy Paxman; Ernesto Martiney
|BBC Open University
|El Salvador war; Nicaragua; Northern Ireland; Sandanista guerillas; Television reporting; Vietnam war; War reporting
|The programme begins with an excerpt from a Panorama programme El Salvador - The Red Alert, in which Father O'Neil, a priest in El Salvador, attributes the wave of killings in the country to the actions of right-wing death squads. Ted Welch identifies the speaker in the extract and discusses the significance of the format and structure of the interview. He then introduces a historic piece of film from the Vietnam War. This is Morley Safers report for CBS. In this clip U.S. marines are shown setting fire to houses in a Vietnamese hamlet. Ted Welch introduces a further dramatic film clip, in which a prisoner is shot in the head by a South Vietnamese government official. Ted Welch describes the impact of this film in the U.S.A., and argues that the similarity of the news coverage of the events in El Salvador has led Americans to see historical parallels between their involvement in Vietnam and El Salvador. Extract from Panorama. A democratic Senator describes the parallels he sees between U.S. involvement in Vietnam and El Salvador. A U.S. General interprets these parallels differently arguing that the free world must stop the encroachment of totalitarianism in S. America. Jeremy Paxman reports from El Salvador on the political murders that terrorise the nation. Ted Welch argues that despite Paxman's apparent, balance in the report, his tone and words indicate what he thinks of the regime in El Salvador, Jeremy Paxman is shown talking to Father O'Neil about the atrocities of the death squads. He then speaks to a police spokesman who denies that his men are responsible for the deaths. Ted Welch describes how a propaganda campaign was mounted on television to encourage support for the rulers of El Salvador. Extracts from Panorama, showing the exhumation of the bodies of three American nuns killed by the National Guard in El Salvador. Paxman explains how this incident was used by Reagan supporters to launch a propaganda campaign about Communist intervention in Central America. Shots from U.S. propaganda film portraying Fidel Castro as the principal exporter of communist revolution throughout South America; it includes shots of Sandinista guerrillas, in the bush, in Nicaragua. Ted Welch now introduces some film clips from an Everyman programme which shows chanting supporters of the Sandinistas and then an interview with Fr. Ernesto Martiney, member of the Sandinista government, who argues that he has never felt more Christian than in the revolution when he was helping his people. Shots of the Minister of Culture, Andanestil Cardinal. Ted Welch looks at further parallels between Nicaragua and Vietnam. Extract from the Everyman programme in which the tyranny of the Somoza regime and the growth of the Sandinistas are described. Ted Welch introduces a specific piece of film showing the shooting of reporter Bill Stuart, which helped to make U.S. intervention in Nicaragua impossible. A priest in Nicaragua talks about the significance of the death of Bill Stuart and then talks about the treatment his nephew suffered under the Somoza regime. Ted Welch argues that it is easier to be affected by film if the issues raised are remote from the viewer. He shows scenes from Gone for a Soldier, a documentary about Northern Ireland. This shows troops on the streets and an Irish priest giving a statement about the death of a young boy, shot by British troops. The extract then shows troops and armoured vehicles on the streets of the British mainland. Ted Welch argues that historical interpretation of events is necessary before we can understand the issues involved in news items.
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