I haven’t yet read the book Triumph Forsaken, but it sounds like a fascinating so-called “revisionist” history of the Vietnam War.
And this comment at the Amazon link treads familiar ground, does it not?:
A key contributor to the downfall of the regime was anti-Diem press coverage, the type written by Stanley Karnow, David Halberstam, and Neil Sheehan, among others. One might think that reporters who spent their time covering a country from the inside might be counted on to offer significant insights, but a congressional fact-finding mission in 1963 found the in-country American reporters to be “arrogant, emotional, unobjective, and ill-informed.” Karnow, Halberstam, and Sheehan all relied a great deal on a Vietnamese journalist named Pham Xuan An, a stringer for Reuters. He helped the journalists interpret political events, always in a light unfavorable to Diem. The Americans did not know that Pham was a Communist agent who had been instructed by the party to become a journalist in order to influence Western media views of Vietnam.
And this seems of interest, although I haven’t read it, either.
I had never before heard of reporter Marguerite Higgins, who wrote a book on Vietnam. She was one of the first women allowed to report from war zones, a veteran of World War II journalism. This is from Halberstram’s Wiki entry:
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Korean War correspondent Marguerite Higgins was the staunchest pro-Diệm journalist in the Saigon press corps and she frequently clashed with her younger male colleagues such as Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett and Halberstam. She derided them as “typewriter strategists” who were “seldom at the scenes of battle”. She claimed they had ulterior motives, claiming “Reporters here would like to see us lose the war to prove they’re right.”
Mark Moyar, a historian, claimed that Halberstam, along with fellow Vietnam journalists Neil Sheehan and Stanley Karnow, helped to bring about the 1963 South Vietnamese coup against President Ngô Đình Diệm by sending negative information on Diệm to the U.S. government, in news articles and in private, because they decided Diệm was unhelpful in the war effort. Moyar claims that much of this information was false or misleading. Sheehan, Karnow, and Halberstam all won Pulitzer Prizes for their post-war works on the war.
Sometimes it seems as though these people can influence wars even more than presidents do. And it’s funny (and not funny haha) how the same names keep recurring over and over.