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CNN's Tailwind Tale: Inside Vietnam's Last Great Myth (Hardback)
  • CNN's Tailwind Tale: Inside Vietnam's Last Great Myth (Hardback)
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CNN's Tailwind Tale: Inside Vietnam's Last Great Myth (Hardback)

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£17.95
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 01/08/2003
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On June 7, 1998 CNN broadcast Valley of Death, the story of a 1970 raid into Laos by U.S. Special Forces. According to the report, Operation Tailwind had used sarin nerve gas to kill U.S. soldiers who had defected to the North Vietnamese. After a firestorm of controversy, CNN retracted the report, ruining the career of rising star April Oliver and compromising the network's credibility. Called "the TV news story of the year" by TV Guide, CNN's Operation Tailwind fiasco was the biggest news scandal of the 1990s. Hearing about the story after its broadcast, Jerry Lembcke was struck by its resemblance to war legends and myths. His search for the origins of the tale, and an explanation for why top-level journalists would believe it, led him into the shocking world of political paranoia, where conspiracy theory, popular culture, religious fundamentalism, and the fantasies of war veterans cross paths. Approaching the story as a case study in why people believe what they do, Lembcke reversed the normal inquiry into how journalists shape what the rest of us know, to ask questions about the social forces that shape what journalists know. With a likeness to Herbert Gans' 1980 classic, Deciding What's News, Jerry Lembcke's CNN's Tailwind Tale is at once a study of American journalism that opens a window on America itself. Special link to the author's interview on Radio Nation discussing this new book - CNN's Tailwind Tale

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742523289
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 481 g
Dimensions: 236 x 160 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Jerry Lembcke has once again produced a compelling discussion of a post-Vietnam myth. Like his last book, The Spitting Image, this one explores the strange mechanics by which collective experiences coalesce into rumors, rumors into the illusion of memories, and these false memories into reported 'fact.' With detailed discussions of post-war media, literature, and politics, the book will appeal to those interested in cultural history, journalism, and the making of national myth. -- Fred Turner, Stanford University
An exquisite book that tempers criticism with compassion while exploring the power of myth in shaping memories of the Vietnam war among those who felt soldiers were betrayed by liberal elites. Lembcke has written an unusual and compelling study that blends media critique with explorations of folklore, popular culture, and apocalyptic metaphor. -- Chip Berlet, Political Research Associates
With extraordinary doggedness, Jerry Lembcke tears the lid off one of the most remarkable-and peculiar-journalistic hoaxes in modern times. As Lembcke makes clear in this powerful book, sometimes even the media can be seduced by the too-good-to-be-true con. -- Scott Anderson, author of The Man Who Tried to Save the World: The Dangerous Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Fred Cuny
Like Oliver Stone's historically false but widely viewed conspiracy movie JFK, Lembcke asserts that CNN'sTailwind Tale developed a carrying power not because it was true but because it felt true. * Communication Booknotes Quarterly *

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