Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s fine documentary “The Vietnam War” is being previewed by Maine Public Broadcasting Network around the state.

The documentary clips make it clear that the misjudgment and mis-information of the Vietnam War was salvaged in no small part by a media and press that painstakingly rescued the truth. They listened to the millions of anti-war protesters and presented it to the public in the aftermath of years of betrayal of the public trust by the government.

The film’s previewing is surrounded by the bigger more immediately influential Maine Public, displaying their enormous Maine Public banner. Not too long ago, Maine Public unapologetically dismissed anti-Iraq war statements from their airwaves and, more recently, ignored the public radio needs of the used-car driving, non-HD radio-owning, rural and poor. (See freethehumblefarmer.com and www.prx.org/p/179813).

Of the 45,000 Mainers who served in Vietnam, many were rural, poor or both. Launching Maine Classical just a year ago, Maine Public‘s large blind spot about what it means to live rurally and at poverty levels was apparent. They left out those Mainers who can’t afford HD radios or internet technology to hear it. They’ve scrambled to undo some of that decision’s disasters. Maybe they think the previewing public will look at that huge banner with amnesia about their history of anti-war statement censorship

“The Vietnam War” heartbreakingly reconstructs the ignored truths that created the cataclysmic betrayal of the public trust that the war became. Maine Public’s history of audience acknowledgment is fragmented — to whit dismissing anti-war views contrary to those of a heavily Republican-influenced Board of Trustees or rural poor classical music devotees.

As this fine documentary is previewed, they owe some acknowledgment that disparate voice and non-middle class identity cannot be dismissed, if public trust in Maine Public is to thrive.

Susan Cook
Bath