News Coverage of U.S. Mothers of Soldiers During the Vietnam War

Document Type




Format of Original

14 p.

Publication Date



Taylor & Francis

Source Publication

Journalism Practice

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1080/17512786.2014.924735


The press of World Wars I and II depicted patriotic mothers as Spartan-like in their support of the nation's war effort. During the Vietnam War, another maternal image emerged to share cultural space with the Spartan mother, that of the goddess Thetis who objected to her son's participation in the Trojan War. This alternative maternal symbol more closely resembles the archetypal image of the peacetime good mother, who cares for her children and resists sending them into harm's way. This study documents coverage of maternal opposition to the Vietnam War against the backdrop of coverage of US mothers of soldiers in the earlier world wars. The comparison suggests that the Great Father's failure to control the press and promote the war to US citizens provided an opportunity for Thetis' rising.


Journalism Practice, Vol. 9, No. 2 (April 2015): 265-278. DOI.