8, 1969 (AP) --
The U.S. High Command in South Vietnam is so incensed with news reports
appearing in the Pacific Stars and Stripes, the U.S. armed forces newspaper
in Asia, that it has started calling it the “Hanoi
of the 250,000-circulation daily has been conveyed to all U.S. military information
officers in the Pacific Area by Col. James Campbell, chief spokesman for the
U.S. Army command in Vietnam.
In a speech
he wrote for an information officers’ meeting this month, Campbell described
as “treason” one battle eyewitness report by a Stars and Stripes
reporter. He pinned a similar label on an Associated Press story about an Army
company that refused for a time to move into action.
a former editor in chief of European Stars and Stripes, is scheduled to take
over as editor in chief of Pacific Stars and Stripes next January.
Press obtained a copy of the speech, which was read to a closed session of
the U.S. Pacific Command information officers’ conference in Taipei Sept.
3. Campbell did not attend the conference. In response to a query, he said, “I
stand by all I said in the speech. It remains the view of USARV (U.S. Army,
included these remarks:
think this conference will be interested in learning that the Pacific Stars
and Stripes has earned for itself the title of ‘The Hanoi Herald.’
this may seem a bit harsh, but we of U.S. Army Vietnam feel that there is more
than just a bit of justification for it. The latest example of what is clearly
irresponsible – if not downright dishonest – reporting is a story
that appeared on page 6 of the Sunday, Aug. 31 issue.”
by a Stars and Stripes combat reporter, Spec. 4 Bob Hodierne, was an eyewitness
account of an action in the Americal Division area.
criticized Hodierne’s use of the numbers of casualties in a U.S. infantry
these figures are true is completely beside the point,” he declared. “It
is my contention that such irresponsible reporting is absolutely devastating
to the morale … of all soldiers. It is also my contention that such
reporting – in the Stars and Stripes of all publications – is of
tremendous aid and comfort to the enemy.”
criticized references in the story to troops being killed, the company pulling
back, lack of helicopter support, cowardice and troop tiredness.
He said, “All
too often Stripes reporters are inclined to accept the viewpoints of persons
clearly not in a position to know what they are talking about, and rarely do
they seek the views of someone in a position to give them the straight dope.”
Stars and Stripes
has a bureau in Saigon staffed by civilian and service reporters. The editor
in chief, based in Tokyo, is Lt. Col. J.F. Townshend Jr. of the Air Force.
is described as “an authorized, unofficial publication for the U.S. armed
forces assigned to the Pacific Command.” The managing editor and news
editor are civilians. The newspaper is published in Tokyo, and more than 100,000
copies a day are sent to combat troops in Vietnam.
claimed that there is not enough field coverage by the Stars and Stripes bureau
in Vietnam. “With the exception of reporter Hodierne, the entire staff
apparently considers the battle zones off limits … they find the press
camp at Nha Trang, which has a nice beach, inviting.”
Stars and Stripes reporters have been wounded in the war. One reporter, Spec.
5 Paul Savanuck, was killed April 18.
also criticized the use by Stars and Stripes of pictures of American wounded
in a week when 2,000 enemy were listed as killed. “We saw no photos of
the enemy,” he said.
And he charged
that helicopter losses were receiving “a disproportionate play” in
to the “outstanding job” done by the Americal Division in August,
Campbell declared, “This outstanding effort was pretty well drowned first
by a dishonest story under the byline of two Pulitzer Prize winners who filed
an eyewitness report on an event they did not see … and then a few days
later this jewel (the Hodierne story) by a man who apparently has forgotten
that he is also a soldier whose mission it is to report about soldiers to soldiers.
is the opinion of USARV that such stories do not border on treason – they
are treason,” Campbell said.
said the story by the two Pulitzer Prize winners he referred to was about A
Company by Associated Press newsmen Peter Arnett and Horst Faas.
a six-year record as a font-line reporter in the Vietnam war; Faas over a similar
period has taken some of the most outstanding photographs of the war.
Friday: “We were at the scene of reported the story as it developed,
attributing the quotes by name to the persons involved. While true we were
not with A Company at the time, the story didn’t say we were. Faas was
with the battalion commander during the radio conversation with the company
and I interviewed the sergeant and the major who talked A Company back into
the war. We quoted them on what had happened with A Company.”
Hodierne and other Stars and Stripes men in Saigon declined to comment on the
was available immediately from Lt. Col. Townshend, the editor in Tokyo.
declared in his speech, “Nobody in USARV is trying to muzzle the press … Nobody
expects Stars and Stripes to be a smile sheet and report only tapioca news.
But the Army does expect – and is not getting – a fair shake from
the Stars and Stripes.”