Manipulation of Public Opinion: The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, August 4, 1964

Date
2014-09-26
Authors
McAllister, Pamela
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
The men who manage the national security affairs of the United States of America consider public opinion to be "simply one more problem that demands skillful management." They tend to view the public with contempt and consider it a nuisance. The publication of The Pentagon Papers has given historians an unprecedented opportunity to examine exactly how public opinion was managed. The entire Vietnam War was conducted away from the public view because the news media willingly collaborated with the government in perpetuating the official fictions about the war. This is the story of how public opinion was manipulated in connection with the Gulf of Tonkin incident of August 4, 1964, the closest thing to an official casus belli in this sordid and undeclared war.
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