I remember when I first heard about the credibility gap during the Viet Nam War. I was a young child, and my father would come home from work every night and watch the news. He would get so angry at what he saw and heard that he sometimes threw things at the television. One night, after yet another report of American soldiers being killed in action, my father turned to me and said, “This is why we can’t trust anything the government says. They’re lying to us about what’s going on over there.” I always wondered how anyone could believe anything that came out of Washington from then on.
The Credibility Gap
The credibility gap is the difference between what a person says and believes. It is usually used to describe a situation in which a person’s words and actions are not consistent.
The credibility gap can also refer to the difference between what a person says and what other people believe about that person.
Origins of the Credibility Gap Controversy
Politicians and the press now use the credibility gap in politics to describe their doubts over the official truth.
Walter Lippmann, a critic of the Johnson war policy, contends that the term is a euphemism akin to the Victorian habit of speaking of limbs rather than legs. In other words, he suggests that the government is using the term “credibility gap” to sugarcoat the reality of the situation in Vietnam.
The term “credibility gap” was first used by newspaper reporters in the mid-1960s to describe the disconnect between what the government was saying and the truth. The lies emanating from government officials, including the President of the United States, were becoming increasingly alarming, and reporters were too shy to call them out as such. 3.
Other presidents have endured similar situations under other names, including recent ones.
The Johnson administration is unique in its dissemination of half-truths and untruths. This has become a routine matter for them on a day-to-day basis.
In recent press conferences, the President has hinted at the widespread criticism of his handling of the situation in Syria.
1) When a reporter asked a question about the scandal, White House press secretary George Christians immediately corrected him.
The issue of the “credibility” gap between marketers and consumers perplexes me just as much as it does anyone else.
The “credibility” issue has baffled me for years. Every President seems to face this problem. In 1992, Bill Clinton was “misled” the public about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. However, he maintained that “mistakes” were made. The President must be open and honest with the American people to remain credible.
The origin of this administration’s credibility problems can be traced back to its first press conference, where reporters asked President Lyndon B.Johnson about the Vietnam War.
On January 23, 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke before a joint session of Congress about the size of his proposed 1963 federal budget proposal. He pointed out to his audience that the budget of 98.8 billion dollars was larger than that of the previous year.
Then, he said that 3.5 billion dollars would need to be added to the figure to account for built-in annual cost-of-living adjustments.
The journalists believed that the budget would range between $102 and 103 billion dollars, but the projected amount changed days later. This left many confused, as they had anticipated a particular figure.
The new budget was $200 billion. At the President’s Texas vacation headquarters officials were said to have spread the word that the new budget would be about $100 billion…. However, when the budget was submitted to Congress, it was none of these figures…. The new budget was $200 billion.
It was $97.9 billion, eventually reduced to 97.3 billion dollars. Johnson’s victory was secured, but the “credibility gap” scandal was birthed.
He fulfilled his pledge to cut spending to Kennedy-era levels and provided the media and the public with a sample of what they would come to expect from him: incoherent ramblings.
The Treasury Department is still facing criticism over the credibility of its fiscal policies. A recent call for Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to resign was made by an editorial in The New York Times.
military effort.” 5The Treasury Department has come under fire from Fortune magazine for its role in what the publication calls the “dissembling, secrecy, and last-minute improvisation in economic and fiscal matters that have become standard Johnsonian practice.” According to Fortune, the Treasury is partially responsible for the public being misled about the true costs of the Vietnam War for more than a year after the 196 5 decision to escalate U.S. military involvement.
The military campaign was a failure.
Though Lyndon Johnson’s ‘credibility problem’ was apparent before the 1965 Vietnam War, it grew exponentially after.
According to writer Daniel R. Rolli, Lyndon Johnson was not in serious legal or political jeopardy before he lied to the American people about Vietnam, but since then, he has been in a lot of trouble. Because people are usually apathetic to lies about things like the budget, they are more outraged when deceptions involve matters of life and death.
Administration Statements on Viet Nam War
Opponents of the Vietnam war often point to a comment made by Lyndon Johnson during the 1964 election. In a speech at Ohio’s University of Akron, he said, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”.
In 1964, Lyndon Johnson said that “we are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” Six months later, however, the United States had nearly doubled its troops to 34,000, and by 1968, the number had soared to 486,000.
The American public has been misled about the war in Vietnam from the very beginning. Predictions of victory have gone unfulfilled, justifications for American policy have been contradictory, and doubts have been raised about the sincerity of Washington’s professed desire to negotiate peace. All of this points to a need for greater transparency and accountability from our government when it comes to matters of war and peace.
McNamara and Gen. Maxwell D.The vast majority of the military task can be completed by the end of 1965,” according to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and General Maxwell D.
General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry Truman.
In a joint press conference held in the White House on October 2, 1963, President John Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced their return from a fact-finding mission to Vietnam.
After being burned by false predictions in the past, officials became reticent to estimate when the fighting would end. However, progress reports in the war have been issued periodically and with increasing optimism.
After the U.
General Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam,
Senator William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, testified before the committee on November 16, 1967.
The 13 optimistic reports about the war in Vietnam prompted Senator Al Gore (D-Tenn.) to complain that the war was being reported too positively.
Government spokespeople have defended America’s war policy in Vietnam as necessary to protect the right of the South Vietnamese people to political self-determination. This was most recently emphasized when South Vietnam held presidential and legislative elections.
This point was highlighted when South Vietnam held its presidential and parliamentary elections on September 30, 1967.
In March 1967, however, the Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk, appeared to place the American commitment to the war in Vietnam to emphasize its relevance to the national interest.
He said at a press conference on October 12 that if the United States does not stand by South Viet Nam, other nations in Southeast Asia will conclude that they cannot expect help from America and will therefore seek accommodation with Communist China.
In 2011, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned, “within the next two decades, there will be a billion people in China, armed to the teeth with nuclear bombs, with no certainty that their attitude will be friendly toward the rest of the world.”.
Critics of the current administration say that its stated desire to conduct peace negotiations with North Vietnam is disingenuous, as it continues to build its military strength in South Vietnam and refuses to stop its aerial bombardment of the North.
Many aspects of the government’s stance on this war are disputed.
The casualty figures for both sides always seem to be skewed in favor of the other side. And often, the “exact body counts” of enemy casualties are given during the heat of a battle.
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was grilled by N.B.C.’s “Meet The Press” on February 9, 1968.
4, about the U.S., claim that 15,000 Communists had been killed in the last week of attacks.
McNamara acknowledged that the figures were a “reasonable approximation of the price the enemy is paying” and that “to some degree, they may be overstated.” However, he maintained that the bombing campaign had a significant impact on North Vietnamese morale and will to fight.
Senator William Fulbright (D-Ark.), the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman, has questioned whether or not Lyndon Johnson had all the information he needed to know about the attacks being made by North Vietnam.
In 1964, President Johnson used the U.S.S. Maddox incident in the Gulf of Tonkin as a pretext for requesting a joint congressional resolution to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
The 1964 “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution” was passed by Congress with almost no opposition.
We support the President in taking any necessary actions to fend off any attack from North Korea and prevent any further escalation of tensions in East Asia.
This became the legal foundation for the escalation of the Vietnam War.
The Foreign Affairs Committee has launched an investigation into the circumstances of the events of 1964 that led to the 1964 Resolution. We hope this will help us better understand what led to our involvement in the Vietnam War.
The inquiry launched by the administration during a time of war has further undermined its already shaky reputation.
Impatience With Efforts to Cover Up Facts
When North Korean patrol boats seized the U.
In 1968, the Navy’s U.S.S. North Korea seized Pueblo. The administration was asked to clarify whether the spy vessel was or was not in Korean waters and why it was not more adequately defended.
The Washington Post, which generally supports the president’s Vietnam War policies, published an editorial criticizing the conflict’s secrecy the next day. The newspaper argued that the American public grew weary of the lack of information about the Vietnam War and urged the White House to be more open with information about the war and future conflicts.
The same-old cover-ups will not satisfy a population deceived over the U–2 spy planes, confused by the Tonkin resolution, and misled by the Israeli attack on the Liberty.
The administration of President Barack Obama has admitted that it is unable to rule out the possibility that the captured ship, the Pueblo, entered North Korea’s territorial waters but maintains that it did so while under surveillance. This has raised questions among the American public, who feel that the government has been misleading them in the past.
The “newspaper” was referring to the “Pentagon cover story” when the U.S.S. Israeli forces attacked Liberty during the 1967 Middle East War.
Why was the ship close to the war zone? Defense Department officials said that the ship was there to use the moon as a passive reflector for its communications.
The U.S.S. Liberty was stationed off the coast of Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea in 1967. The vessel was tasked with helping relay information between military outposts and assisting in evacuating Americans caught in the middle of the Arab-Israeli War.
The U.S.S. Liberty was a ship that was originally thought to be a communication vessel but was later revealed to be a spy. This caused many who had initially believed it was a communication device to be confused.
The Department of Defense’s decision to release two conflicting stories about the U.S.S. McCain’s collision with a merchant’s vessel may have been motivated by security concerns. This strategy, however, could backfire if the American public views the government as dishonest.
A “cover story” can be understandable when information needs to be kept secret for security purposes. However, the administration’s credibility is weakened when those “stories” are exposed.
Pentagon reporters had complained that they had been misled when security considerations were absent.
A WSJ reporter put together a lengthy list of complaints from the Pentagon about news coverage and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.
In 1967, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara attempted to refute Congressional claims that fighter aircraft production was not keeping pace with the number of planes being shot down in combat. However, the journalist felt that the Secretary’s release of these stats was an example of a lack of openness on the part of the government.
Over 2 years, 100 more sales were made than lost.
It was only after a congressional hearing in March that it was revealed that, contrary to popular belief, production and delivery of weapons were two separate things.
The 141 obsolete aircraft he delivered had consisted of 141 old, outdated, and no longer used A-4 Skyhawks and F-4 Phantoms.
Mr. McNamara is an excellent Secretary of Defense and has done a great job for this country.
But his failure to admit his mistake, even when it was clear he made it, and his tendency to make false or misleading statements when justifying his actions have seriously damaged his credibility in the eyes of the American public.
In the August 7, 2013, issue of the Christian Science Monitor, Canham wrote, “The best advice I can give is: Don’t do it.”.
Canham said that, on the whole, a person’s credibility is more damaged by trivial things than by serious ones. He recalled when the President’s travel plans were canceled, only to be denied by the White House.
The credibility gap is still an issue today, even though the Viet Nam War ended many years ago. The government’s statements on various issues fall flat because there is often a disconnect between what they say and what happens. This lack of trust can make it difficult for people to believe anything from Washington.
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