The makers of the documentary two days in October managed toshow the complexity and nuance of their subject through severaljournalistic approaches. T start with they manage to profile detailsof the Vietcong ambush that left 61 soldiers in a horrific way makesreaders and viewers of the documentary connect to the real events asthey happened. Using a profile for a documentary is a very importantapproach in journalism as it helps find the people behind the story,the place, actual event and give the reader a background of why theevents happened. Besides, profile, the explanatory piece of the storyis crucial in any documentary.
The two days in October documentary manages to bring out thecomplexity of the story through the use of metaphors, captions, videoclips, visual effects, sound effects to narrate the horrendous eventsof 1967. The story of how a US regiment walked into Vietnam is achilling look into two-day events in October that brings out the uglyside of war. It depicts soldiers who would not give up the life theircountry but have their lives torn out in defense of their motherland.The documentary employs the use of narrative and descriptive methodsto tell the story of haunting events that left many young men deadand more injured.
The authors of the documentary made sure that they were not tellingit in a simplistic or formulaic way as they go into every detail ofhow the US battalion marched unwittingly into the Vietnam trap. Theimpact of this war cannot be simplified as it opened doors for morewars and created bad blood between the two states to date. Tellingthe story as it was helps a reader understand the history of violencebetween the two countries. Attempts to make the story authentic aswell as humane can be seen through the soldiers attempts to defendtheir country and fight to save it. Though they did not anticipatelosing so many lives, the story fails to bring out the humane part,when 61 lives are lost. As the soldiers are ravaged in Vietnam, backhome other events of concerned university students protesting againstDow chemical recruiters emerge. The protest, which starts out as asimple demonstration suddenly, goes violent. The demonstrationsspiral out marking this as the first time that the students protesthas gone this far.
The journalistic choices made by the makers of this documentary andthe choices of storytelling techniques are very impressive. The useof images to describe violence by students, death of soldiers andinjuries narrate the war experience visually. Interviews withofficials and leaders are in an effort to bring calm to America at atime when everything was taking turmoil due to war show efforts tobring peace and reconciliation to the state. Editing the story linereduces the emotional impact on readers as some stories have a heavyweight on readers. They can evoke strong emotions and lead to violentacts. As a journalist, one should always aim at bringing out thestory in a manner that does not upset or provoke viewers and readersyet passes the message. The use of imagery, interviews, editedstories in the documentary play the role of making the documentarycomplete and very relevant to the event s that were taking place atthat time.
Specific examples of the two days in October documentary canbe compared to the coverage of current war in Afghanistan in variousways. To start with, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are Islamic statesthat have had constant violence that seemingly is not ending. The twodays documentary can be compared to the Islamic state documentaryfilm, which depicts the horrifying inner world of jihadist militantextremists. Film newsmaker Medyan Dairieh who is a vice newsjournalist was given access to the 43 min documentary film that showsdevastating footages of executions. Men are executed throughbeheading in the streets showing the severity of war in the Islamicstates. Preaching centers that serve as meeting grounds for fanaticsto celebrate their faith by raising guns above their heads show themsinging songs of victory and triumph over America and Europeancountries. The fanatics pass a message of wanting to triumph overAmerica so badly. They are willing to go to any length to conquerAmerica. The war that was started long ago between America and theIslamic states may not die out soon. Islamic states hold the beliefthat war bring them close to God and that killing or combatingAmericans is not a crime (topdocumentaryislamic state 1). It thus isnot uncommon to see young children locked in military camps beingtrained how to fight. Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are a stark in thename of religion.
Specific comparisons of authors of the two days documentary to thecoverage by US journalists during wars in history can be compared tothe first and second world war with the impact of war being felt asloss of lives, injuries and property destruction.
Rev. Charles Coughlin’s national radio show from 1926-1940popularity was similar to commentators who were on radio then to someextent. Born in 1891 in Canada, Coughlin graduated in 1911 thenattended the seminary and was ordained as a priest in 1916. His viewsas a priest were influenced by catholic teachings, which emphasizedon conservative clerical activism and shaped by the Basilian order towhich he belonged. The Basilians believed that the church shouldreturn to theological roots, restore prohibition against usury whichwas regarded as the main source of the afflicted modern society’sills. Holding such views helped Coughlin blend with anti-Semitismradio broadcasts in his career. When he started broadcasting in 1926,Coughlin hosted taught catechism classes for children before movingto broadcast religious services. Later on, the religious servicesgrew into political overtones and by 1930 he became one of the mostinfluential figures in America. He became a media personality whopromoted political and social agenda’s extensively.
His show was incomparable to other shows at the time like Hollywoodspeaks which was a talk revolution show in 1928. In 1936, a firesidemystery chat through a paid political broadcast by CBS in therepublican national committee took negative campaigning to newheights. Senator Arthur took Vandenburg to a new height by conductinga mock debate pitting himself on President Roosevelt’s recordings.CBS later cut off the program on the grounds of recording thatviolates network prohibition on transcriptions. Another famous radioprogram was ‘Pot O Gold’ in the fall of winter between 1939-40.It was a big money quiz that became the first network program tooffer larger sums of money to listeners who were waiting by theirphones at homes. The series brought national craze and laterresurfaced on ABC stop the music show.
Coughlin’s radio show became so popular that it can be compared torecent television broadcasts and shows like the Oprah Winfrey showand Tyra banks show. Coughlin as a broadcaster can be compared to PatRobertson a renowned talk show host, evangelist, preacher andbusiness leader. Pat Robertson has been a television evangelist foryears having founded the Christian coalition an influentialconservative political organization. He started the first Christiantelevision station and eventually built CBN. He unsuccessfullycampaigned in the 1988 presidential election and remains andinfluential public voice for the conservative Christians in the US(Pat 1). The Larry King live show is another interesting show thatstarted as a nightly coast to coast show in 1978, hosted by LawrenceZeiger. Zeiger started his radio career with CBS before progressinginto the media market. His work caught the attention of Ted who hiredhim as a host of his own talk show Larry king live on CNN in 1985(Larry 1). Though in 2010 Larry announced that he would stop hishosting career, his show had brought out many political controversiesand social issues addressing them in the limelight.
The difference between Coughlin’s show and famous television showstoday would be that the shows are not entirely religious andpolitical. The famous television shows and pundits currently bringtalks on many events on politics, controversies and social issuesunlike Coughlin’s show which started with religion beforegraduating to politics. His popularity also differed to thecommentators and pundits of today in that there are fewer peoplelistening to radio stations today. More focus has gone to televisionand the social media making television programs more popular thanradio stations. Coughlin’s popularity by 1930 was so great that hehad more than 40 million people listening to his sermons, theaudience today can be estimated to be ten times that audience fortelevision and social media. According to Raymond (33), his sermon’son the golden hour of little flower in 1930, did not renew hissermon contract as they were controversial to the preaching. He washowever, able to arrange broadcasts in more than 30 broadcasts thanksto his popularity.
His show would have also greatly differed with today’s shows inthat radio is no longer an influential tool of communication.Television is also being slowly wiped out by technology. Social mediaand technology are the greatest inventions of this age. They are fastand effective being used to pass on messages, politically, socially,economically and religiously. News on any happenings from any part ofthe world can be accessed by anyone through the use of internet.Social sites like Face book, twitter, instagram, linkeld, connect andwhat sup are growing at a fast rate. People are developing fastertools of communication every second due to the advanced speed oftechnology. Politicians can be accessed via the social sites. Theycan campaign and get voters to support them online without holdingshows or having a journalist broadcast a program for them. Religiousleaders are able to preach and receive tithes and offerings viasocial media now more than any other time.
The social media has given the media fraternity a lot of freedom.There is no way that the government can control the liberty thatsocial media has brought. It is very easy for media houses to leaknews to the internet and have posts about political events or leadersgo viral within seconds. This was a missing advantage duringCoughlin’s time. Reports to reveal that Coughlin used to receivethousands of letters from listeners across America of which he couldnot respond. Today technology gives journalists the advantage ofaccessing direct feedback from their audience and responding toqueries on any issues directly. Communication has significantlyimproved today as compared to the past century. The modern media isnow more liberated and can host shows without restrictions as duringthose years.
Larry King. Bio.A&E Television Networks, 2015.from http://www.biography.com/people/larry-king-9365072#television-debutWeb. 28 Apr. 2015.
Pat Robertson. Bio.A&E Television Networks, 2015. From http://www.biography.com/people/pat-robertson-9460414#synopsis,Web. 28 Apr. 2015.
Raymond, Schroth, "RadioPriest:  "Father Coughlin:  The Father of Hateradio."  National Catholic Reporter, 33(20) 15.
Top documentary films, The Islamic state, 2014, fromhttp://topdocumentaryfilms.com/islamic- state/