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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 10. 1965.

Papers Ignore

Papers Ignore

It is perhaps a sad commentary on the newshawks' hunger for violence that the much larger, more constructive, and non-cooperative effort of pamphleteering every household in Wellington, using a voluntary group of 80, with 24 cars, received no publicity whatsoever. Yet this was a genuine effort to re-educate, through quotations from conservative or acceptable sources, a public conditioned by newspaper reports to think in simple terms of black and white, of North against South, of democrat against communist, and of the threat to NZ, building on the Mekong River.

Editorially, the "Evening Post." like the "Auckland Star" and the "Sunday News," swung to our point of view on the danger of military involvement with such dubious allies as the South Vietnamese military dictatorship. But the morning newspaper, the "Dominion," took a jaundiced view or our proceedings; its view was reflected through the Press Association reports it sent to every other morning paper. Its attitude was so extreme that it somehow failed, without explanation, to use two successive advertisements we had prepared for a public meeting in the "Lido" Theatre, where Jim Henderson, the writer and a returned serviceman, was speaking against the bellicose Mitchell. President of the RSA.

In all our actions, we were impelled, initially perhaps by conscience, then partly by group morale, and by an awareness learnt in the Lodge incident, to realise the importance of the public image. We were conscious of representing others not present, strangers who rang our homes or sent telegrams, passers-by who stopped to talk, and the mute television and newspaper audience.