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U. S. Network TV Newscasts and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Unformatted Document Text:  U.S. Network TV Newscasts and the VVAW 17 the more maddening conventions of journalism, dropped the story of VVAW almost as quickly as it had found the story. Like a child with attention-deficit disorder, it was off in search of something fresh, shiny and new. Though many of the VVAW events after Dewey Canyon were just as large or dramatic, the VVAW was yesterday’s news—in today’s slang “been there, done that.” In reviewing literature and interviews concerning VVAW activities, it becomes apparent that the activities were viewed as a threat to the elite initiatives. Initially, the VVAW were the victims of a coordinated and continuous government effort to harass and discredit the organization. The four veterans interviewed for this report all mentioned FBI, Committee to Re-Elect the President (CRP), and Justice Department harassment of VVAW. The Tallahassee Six, later Gainesville Eight, trial was essentially a prolonged device to drain resources and create a negative public image. "The press perceived us as becoming too radical and therefore somehow losing credibility," said Peter Zastrow (1984), a Last Patrol participant later on the VVAW national board. Zastrow and John Lindquist (1984), another Last Patrol participant later to serve on the VVAW national board, believe that, in retrospect, the FBI infiltration was partially successful in breaking up the southern wing of VVAW. The FBI targeted VVAW in a program of surveillance and disruption of individuals and groups judged to be radical. The other targets of COINTELPRO included the Ku Klux Klan, the Black Panther Party, and Jane Fonda. One FBI agent wrote a book of regrets for his role in infiltrating VVAW, stating that VVAW was the protest group most committed to non-violence (Payne, 1979, p. 84). Another informant, Mary Jo Cook, told

Authors: Harmon, Mark. and Luther, Catherine.
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U.S. Network TV Newscasts and the VVAW 17
the more maddening conventions of journalism, dropped the story of VVAW almost as 
quickly as it had found the story.  Like a child with attention-deficit disorder, it was off in 
search of something fresh, shiny and new.  Though many of the VVAW events after 
Dewey Canyon were just as large or dramatic, the VVAW was yesterday’s news—in 
today’s slang “been there, done that.”
   
In reviewing literature and interviews concerning VVAW activities, it becomes 
apparent that the activities were viewed as a threat to the elite initiatives.  Initially, the 
VVAW were the victims of a coordinated and continuous government effort to harass 
and discredit the organization.  The four veterans interviewed for this report all 
mentioned FBI, Committee to Re-Elect the President (CRP), and Justice Department 
harassment of VVAW.  The Tallahassee Six, later Gainesville Eight, trial was essentially 
a prolonged device to drain resources and create a negative public image.
"The press perceived us as becoming too radical and therefore somehow losing 
credibility," said Peter Zastrow (1984), a Last Patrol participant later on the VVAW 
national board.  Zastrow and John Lindquist (1984), another Last Patrol participant later 
to serve on the VVAW national board, believe that, in retrospect, the FBI infiltration was 
partially successful in breaking up the southern wing of VVAW. 
          The FBI targeted VVAW in a program of surveillance and disruption of individuals 
and groups judged to be radical.  The other targets of COINTELPRO included the Ku 
Klux Klan, the Black Panther Party, and Jane Fonda.  One FBI agent wrote a book of 
regrets for his role in infiltrating VVAW, stating that VVAW was the protest group most 
committed to non-violence (Payne, 1979, p. 84).  Another informant, Mary Jo Cook, told 


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