Provided by Bill Laurie


Material below from a reliable, knowledgeable source whom I've known for years. Knows much about and spent a lot of time in Asia. Author. He gave permission to send this, though leaving his name out.

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Stanley Karnow visited Vietnam in the past couple of weeks with his daughter, also a wannabe journalist. As usual, the official press agency sent out journalists to “interview” them. A couple of those journalists working in Saigon are my friends and yes they work for the government. But they also are professionals and their professionalism puts Karnow and his daughter and crew to shame. Two of the journalists asked me for questions to ask Karnow and so I had them ask him why he excluded the story of the POWs from Dienbienphu from all editions of his book. Then I suggested they ask him why if his assistant, Pham Xuan An, fought for “his country”, the spy, who did the southerners fight and die for? I also suggested they ask him if they could if he thought the North Koreans fought for their country and not the South Koreans .

The result was just about what I expected. The journalists had the suspicion, verified, that Karnow and his daughter were in Vietnam to be “celebrated” as heroes. After all his book sells well in Vietnam today. Well, it went like this. They asked the first question about the POWs at Dienbienphu. Karnow exploded. He told them, red faced, that “General Giap never told me anything about that.” Then before they could ask another question he said the interview was over and he would not answer any more of their questions. They were somewhat dumbfounded that a famous “western journalist” could be so uptight and defensive about his own work. As for his daughter, she was allegedly in Vietnam to investigate the effects of Agent Orange. But on the other hand when the journalists sought to talk with her she seemed, they said, to be most concerned about being celebrated as a concerned American citizen. She wanted, in other words, unmistakably, to have her entire personal life lauded by the Vietnamese press and she really did not want to talk much about Agent Orange. She wanted fame. The interviews were surprising, revealing and disappointing. And the press corps could not help but wonder about these very strange American journalists who from start to finish seem to represent only themselves and their own ambitions.

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