By any measure Tom Shales' preview was an extraordinary piece of journalistic arrogance.
Without questioning the intent of the producers of the original PBS series, the fact is that there is a broad consensus among those truly knowledgeable on Vietnam that the PBS series was indeed badly flawed journalistic history. The judgment of the PBS series by the Vietnamese community in this country, among which I have many friends, is almost universally negative. It is not a matter of an occasional "disgruntled general."
The issue of Ho Chi Minh, mistakenly viewed as some sort of benign nationalist Robin Hood by so-called "liberals," is a central one in the continuing Vietnam debate in this country, as is the media treatment of the 1968 Tet offensive. As to those conservative "pockets" disdainfully referred to by Shales, one wonders where he has been in recent years. Conservatives are not only honorable people, but clearly reflect the views and sentiments of the American people as demonstrated in more than one recent democratic process called an "election."
Finally, since the original PBS series as well as the recent piece built around the AIM production were in good part financed with public funds, why is it "foolhardy" or worse for the National Endowment for the Humanities to support AIM's fully justified critique? The implied assertion that access to public funds to support a TV program should be reserved for "liberal" viewpoints is revealing indeed.