This piece constituted my senior thesis at Washington College, and was awarded the Richard Holstein '68 Prize for Ethics for its findings. It looks at inaccurate American media coverage of the Tet Offensive, during the Vietnam War, and discusses that coverage's negative impact on the future of the journalism industry. The full essay can be downloaded below.
The scores of numerous journalists, scholars and experts to whom I have referred in this study have confirmed the paltriness of my own significance and knowledge in this field.
Yet, it nonetheless seems in my humble opinion that in the 41 years between the remarks of these two esteemed, respected and talented journalists, and through the reporting of so many others, painfully little has changed. The problem has in fact been accentuated, and most likely to an irreparable extent. “Rarely had contemporary crisis journalism turned out in retrospect to have veered so widely from reality,” Braestrup said of the coverage at Tet.
Such irresponsibility cannot be considered a triumph for American journalism, he added. More damaging than that, I offer, it established a style that has since come to define the practice of journalism, the public perception of journalists, and the integrity of the industry. Until rectified, if at all, the practice of journalism will not even come close to serving the deserving American public in the way its loyal forefathers had so vehemently advocated for. On October 15, 1958, Edward R. Murrow discerned that the tube was flickering. If only he could see it now.
This piece conducted a comprehensive re-evaluation of the Richard Nixon presidency, ultimately arguing that his tangible achievements while in office should qualify him for higher ranking than he currently achieves. The paper was formally published in The Washington College Review, and it can be downloaded below.
An article in British newspaper The Times in 1994 claimed that in a post-Cold War world, the need for a President such as Nixon stood out “far more vividly than the memories of Watergate.”40 His achievements both domestically and internationally marked an era of change and set a precedent for others to follow, shaping the world as we know it today. What is more, if we are to look at the seriousness of the political climate during which Nixon was President, could we not also make the case that a President not able to assert themselves as strongly as he did would have weakened the United States’ global position in the Cold War?
With all things considered, I firmly believe that we must take into account and consequently prioritise the “many dramatic accomplishments abroad and at home” for which he was responsible, and ultimately conclude that Richard Nixon’s legacy should remember him as an astute and versatile politician who played a dominant role in some of the most crucial and pivotal decisions in American history.