The University of Kansas Student Auxiliary


V.V.A.R.: Leading the student revolt on campus against speech codes, political correctness, multiculturalism, gender feminism, dormitory re-education, lying about Vietnam, and other instruments of academic oppression.


Leonard Magruder - Founder/President

Former professor of psychology - Suffolk College, N.Y.

Member: National Association of Scholars


CONTACT:  -  Phone: 785-312-9303




[As compiled 28 Feb 2002]

Part 1 of a 10-part series, Vietnam and the Media, from the archives of Vietnam Veterans for Academic Reform - Leonard Magruder, President

PART 1 - Dan Rather Refuses to Debate the Issues

In light of the scandal a few months ago involving Dan Rather and Democratic Party fundraising, we decided to share an incident involving him in l986. Mr. Magruder, President of V.V.A.R., because of his long involvement with Vietnam veterans, was invited by Dr. Theodore Kennedy, Professor of Anthropology at the New York State University at Stony Brook, to help him put together the largest symposium on Vietnam ever assembled. “As National Coordinator, Mr. Magruder has responsibilities for helping design the program and contacting and inviting some of the leading figures of the Vietnam period to speak.” (Lawrence Journal World, Oct. 10, 1986) “The first of its kind in the country and a model for other universities.” (Newsday, Sept. 6, 1986.) It was the most comprehensive, in-depth examination of both the war in Vietnam and the “war on the home front” ever put together, unique because of the participation of some 800 Vietnam veterans.

There were 60 speakers from all over the country, representing the military, the media, the protestors, the government, and academia. Among those invited and who spoke were Bruce Hare, Prof. of Philosophy, Stony Brook Univ.; Kenneth Steadman, Director, VFW; General William C. Westmoreland; Jan Scruggs, Vietnan Veterans Memorial; Leroi Jones (Baraka), activist and poet; Florynce Kennedy, Co-founder, N.O.W; Allen Ginsburg, poet and activist; Senator Eugene McCarthy; David Horowitz, co-editor, Ramparts; Hung Van Ho, Army of South Vietnam; and William Gibbons, National Defense Division.

The media was singularly under-represented. In the beginning, Dr. Kennedy spent hours on the phone with representatives of the New York national media emphasizing the national significance of the Symposium and the need for them to cover it. When this failed, Mr. Magruder wrote the following open letter to Dan Rather, reviewing the performance of CBS during the war and challenging him to a debate at the Symposium. Copies of the letter were hand-delivered by students throughout the New York media community.

Dear Mr. Rather:

As you are probably aware, numerous sociological studies have documented the fact that during the 60’s the television networks were strongly biased on the subject of Vietnam in the same left/liberal direction as the universities that educated their reporters. One of the best of these studies is The News Twisters, by Edith Efron, a book that CBS desperately tried to suppress. The quantitative data in this and other studies show that the networks consistently misinformed and even lied to the American people. Reporting by CBS, ABC, and NBC over an extended period in 1968 show a steady drumbeat of anti-government voices, unified in an assault on the war. Little or no opinion in support of the war was allowed on any of the three networks even though as late as Oct. 1969 the majority of Americans, according to pollster Lou Harris, still supported a military victory in Vietnam.

The data also shows that the networks never allowed the true neo-fascist views and tactics of the New Left and the S.D.S. to be known, protecting them as part of a larger body of “harmless” or “idealistic” youth and using them to project an image of “youth in revolt against the war” and in general actively helping to promote their Marxist version of the war. The data shows how, through biased editorial selection, the views of the left had a virtual stranglehold on opinion on the war. If fact, reporter and enemy opinion constituted a majority of opinion advocating a unilateral bombing halt. Out of 37 such statements, one third came from enemy sources. Said Senator Margaret Chase Smith, “The press has become more sympathetic to the enemy than to our own national interest.” (Congressional Record, June 16, 1971). Said Theodore White, the highly respected author of The Making of the President series, “There is a new avante garde which dominates the heights of national communication and has come to despise its own countrymen and its traditions.”

On occasion, as in the case of the Vietnam War, the university and the media act as an unelected counter-government, certain that they only know what is best for the nation. But if the world view that they share is in fact closer in its basic philosophical assumptions to those of totalitarianism than to those of the Judeo-Christian majority, the danger is obvious, they can misinform and mislead the country. There is, therefore, great fear abroad in the land that in another time of crisis, the university and the media, unless reformed, may again allow themselves to be manipulated by enemy propaganda or exploit the crisis to further ideological interests hostile to the national interest.

One of the most significant consequences of the Vietnam conflict was its exposure of the breakdown that has occurred in intellectual and journalistic circles with regard to objectivity and truth. The truth is that the left-liberal media, informed in its analysis of world events by the impoverished moral sensibility of secularism and hostile to traditional American values, and wanting to see Hanoi win the war to prove those values wrong withheld information from the American people throughout the war. In particular, it created a “disaster” image of the Tet Offensive (perpetrated 15 years later in The Uncounted Enemy - CBS) because it served its ideological purposes, even in the face of incoming victorious reports from the battlefield. Said Ronald Reagan, “CBS under World War II circumstances would have been charged with treason.”

The philosophy of life that allows for such blatant disregard for truth is rampant throughout the New York media and Eastern academic circles. Said Theodore White in Newsweek, “I regard the growing gap between the cult that dominates New York intellectual thought today, and the reality perceived by thoughtful people elsewhere, as a political fact of enormous importance and danger.”

Part of the problem was no doubt touched upon by Carolyn Lewis, former Associate Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism when she wrote in The Washington Monthly recently, “So lacking in intellectual substance is the Columbia curriculum in journalism that students can go through the entire program without having to read a book.”

Another part of the problem is revealed in two well-known studies done by Columbia University and George Washington University that show that media persons, almost all college educated and liberal, “not only differ sharply on moral issues from attitudes of the general public, but shun religion and actively seek to reform society towards their views.” Search Institute, in its landmark study of the importance of religion on Capitol Hill said, “An important factor in our national ignorance of religion on Capitol Hill…is the national press. A predominant characteristic of the media elite is its secular outlook. Perhaps the reporters and commentators are unable to recognize religious influence when they see it.”

It follows that they would also not be able to recognize the true danger of an ideology such as atheistic Communism. It is no accident that Howard K. Smith, the noted television newscaster, warned during the 60’s that “the media is not giving a true picture of Vietnam,” and that the reporters are “especially naïve about Communist intentions and Ho Chi Minh.” Bias in the media, he said, was “massive” and “anti-American.”

The facts seem to be clear. Television networks are dominated by a world-view contemptuous of majority traditional values and they actively seek to impose their views on the rest of America. In this they serve as the propaganda arms of the academic establishment. In summary, it seems that “liberal” today means uneducated, uninformed, and naïve. For the media, with the power it yields, to have no understanding of the significance of contemporary events makes it a very dangerous force in American society and clearly in need of a thorough airing of the problem.

I hope you will accept my invitation to join me in airing the problem at the Symposium - Courage.”

Leonard Magruder

Mr. Rather did not respond to the letter. And when the Symposium ended, the press release prepared by Mr. Magruder summarizing the findings of the Symposium was uniformly boycotted by the New York media. More on that in Part 2. Stay tuned.

[Mr. Magruder is not a Vietnam veteran. As a college professor (psychology), he was outspoken over many years in support of the troops in Vietnam and the cause, and became deeply involved with them when they returned. Until he moved to Kansas he was an Associate Member of the Suffolk, N.Y. Chapter of VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America).With the support of a number of these Vietnam vets who joined his Board of Advisors, including the VVA chapter President, he founded Vietnam Veterans for Academic Reform, a national organization with a student auxiliary at the Univ. of Kansas. He is sending out this series to regional and state Vietnam vet leaders, plus other vet leaders, vets in Congress, and the national media, to let people know what was accomplished, but was suppressed by the media.

This article may be reproduced in any form.

Leonard Magruder

Founder/President, V.V.A.R.

Phone: 785-312-9303


Part 2, Vietnam and The Media

Part 3, Vietnam and The Media

Part 4, Vietnam and The Media

Part 5, Vietnam and The Media

Part 6, Vietnam and The Media

Part 7, Vietnam and The Media

Part 8, Vietnam and The Media

Part 9, Vietnam and The Media

Part 10, Vietnam and The Media

Part 10a, Vietnam and The Media




Website Design Courtesy of Annette R. Hall,

Top of Page