The Uncounted Enemy
The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception was a controversial television documentary aired as part of the CBS Reports series on January 23, 1982. The 90-minute program, produced by George Crile III and narrated by Mike Wallace, asserted that in 1967 intelligence officers under General William Westmoreland, the commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, had manipulated intelligence estimates in order to show far fewer communist personnel in South Vietnam than there actually were, thereby creating the impression that the Vietnam War was being won.
In response, Westmoreland sued Crile, Wallace and CBS for libel. The trial, Westmoreland v. CBS, was approaching its end in 1985 when Westmoreland suddenly dropped his lawsuit, citing a statement by CBS that Westmoreland interpreted as an apology. CBS did not retract anything that had been said in the broadcast, but stated that it had "never intended to assert, and does not believe, that General Westmoreland was unpatriotic or disloyal in performing his duties as he saw them." CBS subsequently lost its libel insurance over the case. Additionally, serious, in-depth documentaries became produced far less frequently on CBS and the other two major networks of the time than had been the case during the 1960s and 1970s, a development that perhaps coincides with less aggressive investigative reporting on television on all news programs generally since the time of the suit.
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