The Pentagon Papers are a set of US Government documents that outlines the United States’ political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945-1967. The papers were released and discovered by Daniel Ellsberg who was a US military analyst; they were released to the public on the front page of the New York Times in 1971. This scandal showed American citizens how easy it is for the media to hide facts from the public. The papers revealed that the United States secretly enlarged the scale of the Vietnam War by bombing Cambodia and Laos, raiding North Vietnam, and through Marine Corps attacks. None of these were reported in the media which shows us that we only know what the media wants us to know. Four administrations of presidents–Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson–lied to the American public regarding their intentions.
Daniel Ellsberg was charged with conspiracy, espionage and theft of government property, but all charges were eventually dismissed in light of the Watergate scandal that came out three years after the Pentagon Papers were released. I think it is important that people like Ellsberg are brave enough to call out the government on its unconstitutional and corrupt practices. As American citizens, it is important that we remember that we live in a democracy and should always be on our toes and knowledgeable about the government and their practices. The media is an important tool, and in my opinion, the media needs to be responsible for all aspects of the news and report on everything, instead of what makes the government look good. I hope one day there will be less media secrets and we will live in a more honest society, and I believe the media can help us achieve that goal.