Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s PBS series, “The Vietnam War,” deserves an Oscar for its depiction of the gore of war and the criminality of the warmakers. But it also deserves to be critiqued for its portrayal of the anti-war movement.
Millions of us joined the struggle against the war. I worked for years as an organizer for major national demonstrations and many smaller ones. Any semblance between the peace movement I experienced and the one depicted by the Burns/Novick series is purely coincidental.
Two of my fellow activists, Ron Young and Steve Ladd had similar reactions to the series. Historian Maurice Isserman says the film is “both anti-war and anti-antiwar movement.” Another historian Jerry Lembcke says the filmmakers use the technique of “false balancing” to perpetuate myths about the anti-war movement.