A struggle to contextualize photographic images: American print 
    media and the "Burning Monk."
 Lisa M. Skow; George N. Dionisopoulos
 Communication Quarterly
            Vol.45 No.4           
 Fall 1997
 COPYRIGHT @ 1997 Eastern Communication Association 

            In the late Spring of 1963, most Western reporters in Saigon who 
            knew of Buddhist plans to use staged suicides to protest the 
            government of President Ngo Dinh Diem, discounted them "as an idle 
            threat, on grounds that the nonviolent Buddhist faith would never 
            condone suicide" (Browne, 1965, p. 177). Throughout May the 
            Buddhists consigned themselves to marches and peaceful gatherings. 
            By June, it was obvious that these protests "were having no impact 
            on the general populace," and the foreign news media had "lost 
            interest completely." Even the Saigon police -- "aware that beating 
            or arresting robed clerics would prompt the worst kind of publicity" 
            -- seemed content simply to disperse the audiences, leaving the 
            monks alone (Browne, 1993, p. 9). 
            However, the Buddhists were secretly preparing to escalate their 
            strategy of confrontation. Their experiments had demonstrated that 
            although gasoline "is easily ignited and burns with great heat, it 
            is consumed too rapidly to complete the destruction of a human body 
            and assure death." The monks found that a mixture of equal parts of 
            gasoline and diesel fuel would "produce a fire that was both intense 
            and sufficiently long lasting" (Browne, 1993, p. 9). 
            On June 11, 1963, a march of 300 Buddhist monks and nuns blocked all 
            entrances to a main traffic intersection in Saigon. Thich Quang Duc, 
            an elderly monk, was helped from an automobile to a square cushion 
            placed for him in the middle of the circle of marchers. He sat in 
            the lotus position and allowed fellow monks to poor the combustible 
            mixture over him -"soaking his face, body, robes and cushion" 
            (Browne, 1993, p. 10). When the younger monks stepped away, Thich 
            Quang Duc struck a match and was immediately engulfed in flames. 
            "'Oh my God,' cried a Western observer, `oh my God'" ("Trial by 
            Fire," 1963, p. 32). 
            The suicide of Thich Quang Duc was captured in an award-winning 
            series of photographs by Malcolm Browne, one of several Western 
            reporters that had been "alerted that something dramatic was about 
            to happen" (Nolting, 1988, p. 112). His photos "circled the globe 
            faster than Telstar broadcast" ("Road to Freedom," 1963, p. 177). 
            Today it is widely recognized that Browne's pictures of Quang Duc's 
            suicide are some of the most powerful visual images to have come out 
            of a period of our history that would provide other dramatic 
            photographs over the next decade. The riveting power of Browne's 
            photographs was such that they focused Americans on an area of the 
            world that had only received marginal attention up until then. In so 
            doing, the photographs became a frame through which many Americans 
            perceived the events in South Vietnam during the Summer and Fall of 
            What is not as widely recognized, however, is that while these 
            visual images engaged the American audience, their meaning -- and 
            thus the frame they provided -- was the subject of a running dispute 
            in the American print media. That is, while the visual power of 
            these photographs was undeniable, elements of the print media 
            competed with each other to provide the "correct" interpretation of 
            them. These efforts to interpret Browne's photographs were also 
            attempts to prescribe for an engaged American public a frame through 
            which to interpret the news about the unfolding political upheaval 
            in South Vietnam during this time period. How this frame was 
            constructed depended largely upon whether it situated the images -- 
            and thus the events they represented -- against a backdrop of 
            religious oppression or a war for freedom against the communists. 
            We seek in this essay to examine that dialectical struggle within 
            the American print media. We undertake this effort for the following 
            reasons. First, we maintain that this case study offers an 
            opportunity to extend our rhetorical knowledge concerning visual 
            images. Lancioni (1996) has observed that during the past few years 
            a "wide range of visual forms have been the subject of rhetorical 
            analysis" (p. 398). These analyses have examined the rhetorical 
            dimensions of documentary photographs (Lancioni, 1996), war 
            memorials (Foss, 1986), political cartoons (Bostdorff, 1987, Mehurst 
            & Desousa, 1981) and iconographic images (Olson, 1983, Olson, 1987; 
            Olson, 1990; Olson, 1991). Although we draw from much of this 
            previous work, we will illustrate that our case study differs from 
            previous efforts in fundamental ways. These differences allow us to 
            examine an important aspect of visual imagery that has been 
            neglected thus far: the role of discursive rhetoric for providing a 
            context -- and thus a rhetorical meaning -- for certain visual 
            A second reason for our effort is that it allows us to focus on what 
            many believe constituted a turning point in American media reportage 
            from Vietnam. It is easy to forget that June 11, 1963 was before any 
            real domestic opposition to American involvement, before the Tet 
            Offensive, before the first major American troop build-up in 1965, 
            even before the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the ensuing Resolution. 
            On June 11, 1963, most Americans were more preoccupied with the 
            threats of Alabama Governor George Wallace to block court ordered 
            integration at the University of Alabama, than with a small country 
            half a world away. The Summer of 1963 marks an important -- and as 
            yet unexplored -- watershed in the American experience in Southeast 
            Asia. As media coverage during this time "finally made Vietnam a 
            matter of top priority" (Prochnau, 1995, p. 313), involvement there 
            would begin to occupy a more prominent place in American 
            Many scholars maintain that American press coverage during the 
            summer of 1963 was some of the most controversial of the entire war. 
            Hallin (1986) wrote, "It was during this period especially that the 
            media were charged with shaping events rather than reporting them, 
            wrecking American policy in the process" (p. 43). Schlesinger (1965) 
            maintained that the anti-Diem campaign of the Buddhists "engaged the 
            sympathy of the American newspapermen and through them many people 
            in the United States" (p. 987). President Kennedy's Press Secretary, 
            Pierre Salinger (1966) singled out Browne as one of three reporters 
            who "devoted their activities in 1963 to the political crisis which 
            developed in Saigon -- particularly the nasty conflict between the 
            government and the Buddhists. Whether they intended it or not, their 
            articles reflected the bitter hatred they had for the Diem 
            government and their avowed purpose (stated to a number of reporters 
            in Saigon) to bring down the Diem government" (pp. 325-326). 
            MacDonald (1973) claimed that the American media were purposefully 
            distorting coverage during this time to benefit the Buddhists. 
            Others refer more explicitly to the dramatic impact of Browne's 
            photographs. The American Ambassador to South Vietnam during this 
            time period, Frederick Nolting (1988), maintained that "Browne's 
            photograph of the old man sitting motionless in the midst of the 
            flames shocked the world," and turned American public opinion 
            "firmly against President Diem" (p. 112). MacDonald (1973) believed 
            that Browne's photographs produced an "exaggerated" impression of 
            what was truly going on in South Vietnam. Prochnau (1995) observed, 
            "So much did Mal Browne's photos jar history that more than three 
            decades later one is still . . . part of a tourist attraction in . . 
            . Ho Chi Mihn City" (p. 309). Browne (1993) himself, observes 
            similarly that the "spectacular self-immolation of the Buddhist monk 
            made headlines, helped to bring down a government, changed the 
            course of a war and found a place in the history books" (p. 3). 
            Our analysis proceeds in the following manner. First, we examine 
            some of the previous work concerning the rhetorical aspects of 
            visual messages, detailing ways in which our study differs. In the 
            next section, we analyze the struggle by elements of the print media 
            to contextualize Brownes photographs and through them, the news 
            coming out of South Vietnam. We focus on the time period from June 
            1963 until the November coup which successfully brought down the 
            Diem government in South Vietnam. We have examined coverage from 
            three newspapers (New York Times, San Diego Union, and the Christian 
            Science Monitor), a weekly news periodical (Time), two religious 
            periodicals (Christian Century, America), and four additional 
            magazines that covered political events (Life, Nation, National 
            Review, New Republic). We feel that taken collectively these sources 
            provide a diverse sample of the popular print media of the time. The 
            sample is varied enough to offer for examination a range of 
            message-types and political perspectives. Finally, we end with some 
            concluding observations about our efforts here. 
            Lancioni (1996) has observed that critical analyses have examined 
            the rhetorical messages of a wide range of visual artifacts. This 
            research suggests that the rhetorical meaning for a visual artifact 
            is determined by the artifact's aesthetic form, and the active 
            cooperation of the audience in the construction of that rhetorical 
            meaning. Foss (1986) suggested that a viewer's response to a visual 
            object "assumes two forms or occurs in two steps -- the aesthetic 
            and the rhetorical . . . . the aesthetic precedes the rhetorical and 
            consists of a direct perceptual encounter with the sensory aspects 
            of the object The rhetorical response that follows constitutes the 
            processing of the aesthetic experience and thus the attribution of 
            meaning to the object." This rhetorical response "involves a 
            critical, reflective analysis of the work or a cognitive 
            apprehension of it" (p. 329). In the process of attributing 
            rhetorical meaning to a visual object the choice options available 
            to the audience will be circumscribed by the possibilities allowed 
            by the aesthetic attributes of the object But within those 
            prescribed parameters the audience will draw upon a "learned 
            vocabulary" based on "their own life experiences" (Lancioni 1996, p. 
            403), and the "[c]ultural knowledge [that] provides the basis for 
            normative interaction and persuasion" (Scott, 1994, p. 253).(1) 
            While these insights have proven beneficial in previous research, we 
            suggest that they are somewhat limiting in our case study. 
            The aesthetic impact of Browne's photographs was immediate and 
            undeniable. They "leaped off every front page in the world the next 
            morning" (Karnow, 1983, p. 281), riveting attention, as people 
            "reacted with shock and horror to this spectacular event" (Doyle & 
            Lipsman, 1981, p. 67). President Kennedy's reaction was undoubtedly 
            similar to that of many others, as he was heard to exclaim "Jesus 
            Christ," when the morning papers were delivered to him. As Levine 
            (1988) observed, it "is through trauma that the unstaged photograph 
            manipulates most effectively" (p. 17), and the evocative power of 
            such photographs is provided largely by the belief that they are 
            "the quintessential objective document -- reality in black and 
            white" (p. 23). "The camera record justifies," explained Sontag 
            (1977), it "passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing 
            happened" (p. 5). The aesthetic form of Browne's photographic 
            "reality" or "proof" "fastened worldwide attention" on Southeast 
            Asia ("Condemn Religious Tyranny," 1963, p. 900), as its undeniable 
            force transfixed the attention of the American public on the 
            dramatic events portrayed. 
            However powerful were the aesthetic images, the role of the engaged 
            audience in the cooperative construction of their rhetorical meaning 
            was somewhat more difficult There was precious little in the way of 
            life experiences or cultural knowledge that an engaged American 
            audience could utilize in the Summer of 1963 to contextualize these 
            photos in a meaningful way. As Trachtenberg (1989) observed, 
            "without an encompassing structure, individual photographic images 
            remai[n] dangerously isolated and misleading. The structure endows 
            each image with what Foucault calls `enunciability,' the power to 
            make a meaningful statement" (p. 85).(2) Thus it fell to the 
            American print media to provide a context -- or encompassing 
            structure -- within which these dramatic, but alien, images would 
            take on rhetorical meaning.(3) 
            Olson (1983) examined how the discursive rhetoric of Franklin 
            Roosevelt "created a context" of meaning for Norman Rockwells "Four 
            Freedoms" paintings. This context reaffirmed the reasons America was 
            fighting World War Two (p. 24). However, Roosevelt constructed this 
            context without opposition. This was certainly not the case 
            concerning the powerful images coming out of Vietnam in the Summer 
            of 1963. A struggle ensued within the media concerning how to 
            contextualize and thus understand Browne's photographs -- and 
            through them, the unfolding political upheaval in South Vietnam. As 
            Smith (1986) observed, within the realm of foreign policy "where our 
            understandings . . . are so imperfect" (p. 325), such a struggle 
            "over images . . . is more than a distraction -- it is central. . . 
            . because it provides a way for Americans. . . to make sense of the 
            world around them" (p. 324). In retrospect, it might be argued that 
            the American understanding of Vietnam was always "imperfect." But it 
            was distinctly so during the Summer of 1963. We turn now to examine 
            how elements of the American print media struggled to contextualize 
            one of the first images that could provide Americans with a way to 
            make sense of Vietnam. 
            Some of the initial media reports described Browne's photographs of 
            Thich Quang Duc's self-immolation on a more aesthetic level. "An 
            elderly Buddhist monk surrounded by 300 other monks calmly put a 
            match to his gasoline-drenched yellow robes at a main street 
            intersection here today and burned to death before thousands of 
            watching Vietnamese" ("Monk Suicide by Fire," 1963, p. 6). This type 
            of description, however, was unable to explain the motives 
            underlying the act portrayed in these powerful images, and thus gave 
            little indication of what rhetorical meaning could be attached to 
            them. It was in the act of contextualizing Brownes photographs that 
            they took on rhetorical meaning. The frames offered by the print 
            media tended to bifurcate into two opposing perspectives: one 
            featuring a theme of religious oppression by Diem's government, the 
            other featuring a theme of a struggle for freedom against the 
            communists. The photographic image of Thich Quang Dues fiery 
            suicide, the antiDiem protests by the Buddhists, and the war itself, 
            would take on vastly different meanings depending upon the context 
            in which they were placed. We tam now to examine those media that 
            framed the events against a backdrop of religious oppression in 
            South Vietnam. 
            For a great deal of media, Browne's images seemed "to symbolize what 
            was wrong with American involvement, if not in Vietnam, at least 
            with Ngo Dinh Diem" (Prochnau, 1995, p. 308). Coverage in the New 
            York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Christian Century, New 
            Republic, and Nation to varying degrees, seemed to feature the 
            religious persecution being carried out by the South Vietnamese 
            government Emphasis on the struggle between the oppressed Buddhist 
            majority and the oppressive Catholic-dominated regime of President 
            Ngo Dinh Diem concomitantly minimized any negative impact the 
            Buddhist demonstrations would have on the war against the 
            communists. The New York Times stated that this religious struggle 
            was "the most bitter and basic point of friction taking place in 
            Saigon" ("Saigon Concedes," 1963, p. 1). Christian Century claimed 
            that "the simple, widely publicized, incontestable fact is that the 
            conflict is one between a Roman Catholic and Buddhists" ("Vietnam 
            Crisis," 1963, p. 1093). Charges against the government included 
            discriminatory practices, violence against Buddhists, and inept 
            leadership by President Diem and his family-dominated government 
            Discrimination Against Buddhists. Setting the stage for the charges 
            of religious discrimination by the Diem regime was the common 
            referral in the media to the Buddhist majority in South Vietnam. The 
            New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and Christian Century 
            all featured that although the ruling Diems were Catholic, 70-80% of 
            the population of Vietnam was Buddhist For example, in virtually 
            every article by the New York Times, there is mention of the 
            Buddhist majority and ruling Catholic minority ("Diem Asks Peace," 
            "Buddhist Defy Regime," and "U.S. Warns South Vietnam," 1963). The 
            Christian Century put the matter bluntly; "The fact is that a 
            predominantly Buddhist land is ruled by a strong Roman Catholic 
            family which permits and evidently encourages a ruthless suppression 
            of religious freedom" ("Brutality in Vietnam," 1963, p. 950). The 
            "domination" ("Saigon Incident," 1963, p. 2) and the "complete 
            control" ("Vietnam Crisis," 1963, p. 1093) by the Catholic Diem 
            regime over the Buddhist majority were common terms used to set the 
            tone for the charges of religious discrimination. Direct references 
            to the Buddhist majority, prejudice, and nepotic practices on the 
            part of the government were succinctly detailed in the New Republic; 
            the Buddhists' "crime had been that, in a country in which they 
            represent about 70 percent of the population, they had run afoul of 
            the particular prejudices of the chief of staff and of his relatives 
            and associates, who are Catholics" ("Diem's Other Crusade," 1063, p. 
            This notion that something "isn't quite right" in Saigon resonated 
            in some factions of the American media. The message shaped by these 
            media that a powerful minority dominates and controls the majority 
            in South Vietnam would be a powerful and purposeful message to an 
            engaged American audience trying to understand American actions to 
            defend "freedom" in that country. As presented in the Summer of 
            1963, the Viet Cong were not the only enemies of freedom or 
            democratic ideals. Indeed, the Diem regime was portrayed as a 
            principle source of oppression for the majority in the vary country 
            he governed. 
            Mediated descriptions grounded the Buddhist uprising in an incident 
            which had occurred on May 8, 1963. To celebrate the 2057 birthday of 
            Buddha, the Buddhists of Hue flew the five-color flag of their 
            religion. Police and government troops moved in to enforce what 
            David Halberstam called on the front page of the New York Times, a 
            "seldom used law" ("Saigon Concedes," 1963, p. 1), banning the 
            public display of any flag other than the national flag of Vietnam. 
            During an ensuing clash, between nine and eleven Buddhists were 
            killed ("Mandarins of Hue," 1963, Sobel, 1973).(4) 
            Mediated descriptions portrayed the Hue incident as an attack on a 
            "crowd peacefully demonstrating for the right to fly Buddhist flags 
            on Buddha's birthday" ("Saigon Incident," 1963, p. 2). One source, 
            claiming that the Catholic flag was not subject to the same censure, 
            wrote that "they [the Buddhists] had compounded their `crime' by 
            flying the Buddhist flag . . . . The flying of the white-and-gold 
            Catholic flag, widely displayed at all major public events in 
            Vietnam, apparently is not subjected to the same interdiction" 
            ("Diem's Other Crusade," 1963, p. 5). The Christian Science Monitor 
            highlighted the refusal of the Saigon government to take 
            responsibility for the incident at Hue; "Three simple words -- `I am 
            sorry' -- by President Ngo might have settled the problem if only 
            they had been uttered early enough" ("Saigon Incident," 1963, p. 2). 
            The incident in Hue provided one way for engaged Americans to begin 
            to understand the events captured in Browne's famous photographs, 
            but it was also only a part of the story of religious repression in 
            South Vietnam. As the New York Times described South Vietnamese 
            Buddhists are prohibited from flying their flag; relief supplies 
            tend to go through Catholic hands; new universities at Hue and Dalat 
            are Catholic controlled. . . . Most high government officials, 
            chiefs of provinces and military officers are Catholics. The 
            official political ideology, enforced on everybody is derived from 
            Catholic philosophy. Restrictive social legislation, such as bans on 
            dancing, contraceptives, divorce and polygamy, runs counter to 
            customs and beliefs of the majority. ("Diem and the Buddhists," 
            1963, p. 18) 
            The discrimination extended even into the government's campaign 
            against the communists. The New Republic reported that only 
            Catholics were given weapons with which to fight the Viet Cong: 
            "Even in mixed Catholic-Buddhist villages guns often go only to the 
            Catholics" ("South Vietnam," 1963, p. 9). Discrimination was 
            described as common in the military, as Buddhists were "bypassed for 
            promotions because they refused to change religion." Four "senior 
            Buddhist priests were sentenced to long prison terms without a 
            defense, accused of being members of a `communist' cell" ("Diem's 
            Other Crusade," 1963, p. 5). 
            Against this backdrop Browne's photographs became a symbol for 
            President Diem's assaults on fundamental tenants of religious 
            tolerance and freedom -- actions that would have violated basic 
            values of the engaged American audience. As described in the media 
            during this time period, the religious struggle in Southeast Asia 
            seemed to greatly overshadow -- and call into question -- the war 
            against the Viet Cong. Indeed, a group calling themselves the 
            Ministers Vietnam Committee placed an advertisement in the New York 
            Times featuring the Browne photograph, and protesting the "fiction 
            that this is `fighting for freedom"' (Congressional Research 
            Service, 1985, p. 144). In attaching rhetorical meaning to Browne's 
            images, the American public, and undoubtedly the American President, 
            himself a Catholic, was forced to grapple with the question of just 
            who constituted the real enemy of "freedom" in South Vietnam.(5) 
            Government Violence Against Buddhists. Government clashes with 
            Buddhist demonstrators became a staple of reporting from Vietnam 
            during the Summer of 1963. Some media sources described a situation 
            in which Diem's forces were intentional aggressors and the Buddhists 
            were innocent victims pushed to spectacular suicide as a last 
            resort. The Christian Century reported that "At least five Buddhists 
            have been driven to self-immolation" ("Rome and Saigon," 1963, p. 
            1067), and that "Catholics" were using their power to kill, 
            intimidate and imprison Buddhists who were calling for religious 
            freedom ("Vietnam Crisis," 1963, p. 1093). 
            Print media reports emphasized the intensity of the violence 
            perpetuated against the Buddhist demonstrators, and were shaped to 
            blame the Diem government for the protests themselves. This account 
            from Nation is illustrative: "growing Buddhist restiveness under 
            Diem's discriminatory measures has resulted in demonstrations, riots 
            and increasingly savage assaults on the Buddhists by the government 
            ("Same Old Diem," 1963, p. 538). As explained it is the government's 
            discrimination that has caused the restiveness, the riots and the 
            "savage government violence. 
            The coverage also detailed the forms that violence took. Buddhists 
            were portrayed as martyrs -- persecuted for wanting only to practice 
            their religion in their own way through the "simple flying of their 
            religious flag. The New Republic reported that "Buddhist flags 
            defiantly flew from pagodas in which Buddhists were barricaded while 
            troops sought to starve them out by cutting off their food and water 
            supplies" ("Diem's Other Crusade," 1963, p. 5). 
            By the beginning of September, Buddhist demonstrations and 
            government retaliation had reached a crescendo level. An editorial 
            in the Christian Century offered a detailed account of government 
            violence against the Buddhists: "Scores have been killed, thousands 
            imprisoned. Martial law has been declared. Troops are rushing here 
            and there, arresting Buddhist demonstrators, assaulting or sealing 
            up places of worship, firing into assemblies of students, monks and 
            other citizens" ("Rome and Saigon," 1963, p. 1067). Descriptions 
            like these helped the engaged American audience to understand the 
            photo of the burning Buddhist monk by situating its powerful imagery 
            against a backdrop of violent religious oppression in the streets of 
            Saigon being carried out under government orders. The reality 
            described is one in which Buddhists are forcefully being kept from 
            practicing their religion by an authoritative government dominated 
            by Catholics, while the war against the communists -- ostensibly 
            being fought for freedom -- lies somewhere hauntingly in the 
            Inept Government. During the Summer of 1963, the Diem government was 
            commonly portrayed as incompetent and without the support of the 
            South Vietnamese people. Showing Diem as an unsuccessful leader who 
            was incapable of uniting his people against the Communists, implied 
            that the Buddhists were guiltless in their struggle against him. The 
            New Republic stated bluntly that the "sheer idiocy of the Diem 
            regime astounds" ("Diem's Other Crusade," 1963, p. 5). Other media 
            worried that Diem's concern for preserving his family-dominated 
            government in the face of citizen unrest was taking precedence over 
            the war with the Viet Cong: "When the war to defeat the Communist 
            guerrilla infiltration at its most dangerous point takes second 
            place to the concerns of a family dictatorship, the time for a 
            change is at hand" ("Agony in South Vietnam," 1963, p. 18). 
            Described as ruling South Vietnam "like a feudal kingdom," ("Diem's 
            Other Crusade," 1963, p. 5), the Diem regime was reported to have 
            "forfeited the loyalty of the majority of its people and the 
            sympathy of the world" ("Rome and Saigon," 1963, p. 1067). 
            As constructed by the media, Diem's refusal to take responsibility 
            for the Hue incident was causing a rift between the government and 
            the Buddhists -- who were portrayed as the people of South Vietnam. 
            The New York Times reported that the government of Saigon was "still 
            failing" to admit any responsibility for the deaths in Hue 
            ("Buddhists Defy Regime," 1963, p. 5). "The Government, blaming 
            communists for the deaths, prohibited further demonstrations and 
            alternately denounced and negotiated with the Buddhist leaders" 
            ("U.S. Warns South Vietnam," 1963, p. 2). Diem had not yet "appealed 
            to the people for forgiveness" ("Saigon Incident" 1963, p. 2) 
            although such concessions were "certainly overdue ("Diem and the 
            Buddhists," 1963, p. 2). 
            Thus the picture of the burning Buddhist acquired meaning in relief 
            against a background of mediated accounts such as those found in the 
            Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times. These accounts 
            suggested strongly that the Buddhists -- as represented in the 
            picture -- were not responsible for events during the Summer of 
            1963. They were indeed, blameless, helpless scapegoats for the 
            brutal, nonrepresentative government in Saigon. President Diem and 
            his government became the focus of blame through narratives that 
            suggested that they had created the crisis through repression, and 
            insensitively failed to handle it successfully. Focusing the blame 
            on the Saigon government served to justify the Buddhist grievances. 
            From this perspective the suicide of Thich Quang Duc can be defined 
            as an understandable -- if obscene -- response. But there were other 
            elements of the American media that chose to define the burning monk 
            -- and thus the events in 1963 -- against a different backdrop; a 
            backdrop which suggested that the Buddhists were responsible for 
            diverting attention away from the real problem in South Vietnam, the 
            war against the Viet Cong. 
            Another faction of the media offered a different portrayal of the 
            developing events in South Vietnam, and thus a different rhetorical 
            meaning for Browne's photographs. Instead of a struggle for 
            religious freedom Time, the San Diego Union, America, National 
            Review, and Life offered a more skeptical view of the Buddhists and 
            their demands. In it, Buddhists were described as unreasonable, as 
            having strong ties with communism or even being communists 
            themselves. The Saigon government was largely blameless and charges 
            of religious oppression were without foundation. This view 
            questioned the intent of the Buddhists and their effect on what was 
            portrayed as the real struggle in Vietnam the war for freedom 
            against the communists. 
            Buddhists Unreasonable. Buddhist claims of Catholic discrimination 
            were labeled as exaggerations by several news sources. Time magazine 
            suggested that the Buddhist demands included the "abolition of real 
            or fancied inequalities" and a "myriad of often ill-defined 
            grievances" ("The Queen Bee," 1963, p. 22). America quoted a New 
            Catholic News report from Saigon as saying that "the charges that 
            the government is pursuing an anti-Buddhist campaign are plain 
            exaggeration" ("New War in Vietnam," 1963, p. 849). The National 
            Review used subtitles such as "Bonzes Shift Blame" and "Preposterous 
            Proposals" to portray the Buddhists as extremists ("What's Really 
            Going On," 1963, pp. 388, 389) who were demanding unreasonable 
            concessions and taking part in outrageous displays of 
            Described as "no more than a symbol" ("Tiger by the Tail," 1963, p. 
            207), the Buddhist flag issue was trivialized. The National Review 
            contextualized the Buddhist suicides during that summer with an 
            observation that "Surely a man does not immolate himself because the 
            government has forbidden his religion to fly its own flags on a Holy 
            Day" ("Road to Freedom," 1963, p. 177). 
            Such reports framed the Buddhist demands as unwarranted, while 
            simultaneously delegitimating other news perspectives concerning the 
            crisis. Buddhist complaints were made to appear carelessly construed 
            and poorly analyzed. In the face of a war against the communists in 
            South Vietnam, such reports communicated a strong message to the 
            American public concerning the legitimacy -- or lack thereof of 
            Buddhists claims of religious persecution. 
            Time magazine did offer readers one of the few explanations 
            concerning the nature of Buddhism -- including insights into the 
            concept of suffering and self-sacrifice. However, after a short 
            examination of the Four Noble Truths, Time discussed the 
            "uselessness" and delusions of the Buddhist religion. Calling the 
            Eightfold Path "full of pitfalls," the article explained that "in 
            many Western ways, Buddhism is socially useless. It has only a 
            limited tradition of good works, the chief duty of monks and nuns is 
            contemplation" ("Faith that Lights," 1963, p. 29). This description 
            portrayed the Buddhist religion as indistinct, unsophisticated, and 
            presumably without value to enlightened people. 
            Media coverage like this addressed not only the demands of the 
            Buddhists, but their religion. In so doing, it situated the suicide 
            of Thich Quang Duc -- and the protest movement it symbolized -- 
            against a backdrop of a belief system judged to be "socially 
            useless" when assessed by Western criteria. As the foremost 
            practitioners of this belief, the monks would be cast as equally 
            useless, and their demands for social justice as petty and 
            unreasonable. Another perspective of this type of media coverage 
            suggested that the protests of the Buddhists had more to do with 
            politics than with religion, and that in pursuing their anti-Diem 
            agenda the Buddhists would endanger the real struggle for freedom 
            against the communists. 
            Political Nature of the Buddhist Demands. The interpretive frame 
            featuring concerns regarding religious tolerance and freedom was 
            countered in the media by one that featured the political nature of 
            the struggle between the Buddhists and the legitimate government in 
            Saigon. Time observed that the "Catholic angle can be greatly 
            exaggerated" ("The Queen Bee," 1963, p. 23); an opinion echoed in 
            the National Review: "Religion has been dragged in by the heels, to 
            belabor Diem, to blacken his reputation, and to inflame world 
            opinion" ("Road to Freedom," 1963, p. 177). Claiming that "the 
            religious issue... has been phony from the start" ("Tiger by the 
            Tail," 1963, p. 207), America began questioning the motivation 
            behind the Buddhists' grievances: 
            Sources admit in private that South Vietnam's agitating Buddhists 
            are not 
            concerned about religious freedom. They have hoped, by raising the 
            issue of religious discrimination, to enlist the sympathies of the 
            and the world at large and eventually to topple the government of 
            Dinh Diem. ("Saigon in Perspective," 1963, p. 126) 
            Although it was conceded that the Saigon government was dominated by 
            Catholics, there was no religious discrimination against the 
            Buddhists of South Vietnam. Catholics were simply treated "like 
            anyone else" ("Queen Bee," 1963, p. 22). America relied on an 
            American Government spokesman for added credibility concerning the 
            exoneration of Diem. "Frederick E. Nolting was essentially correct 
            in his nationwide T.V. interview of a few weeks ago. `Vietnam has 
            impressed me as a country of religious tolerance' the retiring U.S. 
            Ambassador insisted" ("Tiger by the Tail," 1963, P. 207). 
            Accused of selling the American public "a bill of goods" ("Reporting 
            from Saigon," 1963, p. 152), those who led the fight against the 
            government were made to seem like a small, solitary faction of 
            zealots, not representative of the Buddhist majority in South 
            Vietnam ("What's Really Going on in Vietnam," 1963). Such 
            perspectives set the scene for claims of Communist infiltration 
            among the ranks of Buddhist demonstrators. 
            In a National Review article, the Archbishop of Hue, Ngo Dinh Thuc 
            intimated connections between the communists and the Buddhists: 
            "What an organization to serve as a refuge for our friends the 
            Communists, protected from the police by the right of asylum given 
            to the pagodas" ("What's Really Going on in South Vietnam," 1963, p. 
            388). He went on to say that the "presence of Communists among the 
            bonzes is very probable since they have infiltrated even the Legion 
            of Mary."(6) Coverage in the San Diego Union similarly stated that 
            the Buddhist protests were benefitting the Viet Con& and then 
            employed some rather tortured wording to intimate a more direct 
            association between the Buddhists and the Communists: 
            Recent Buddhist demonstrations in Hue and Saigon may or may not have 
            been Communist-instigated, but the Communist Viet Cong are getting 
            main benefits. ("Split Helps Reds in South Viet Non," 1963, p. 5) 
            It would be incorrect to say that the present disturbances have been 
            instigated by the Communists, but there is no denying that the 
            are reaping tremendous propaganda value from them.... Some old hands 
            not convinced that the Communists have not entered the scene as 
            This view is endorsed by the fact that Buddhists never before haw 
            to such extreme tactics in their demonstrations in other areas of 
            (Neilan, 1963, p. 7) 
            Going beyond implying a simple link between the Buddhists and the 
            Viet Cong, commentary in Time suggested that the two were similar 
            forms of ideology. Claiming that Buddhism and communism have many 
            points in common, Time even depicted the Buddhists as being more 
            communist than the Communists: "They (the Buddhists] practice some 
            things that the Communists so far have merely talked about It may be 
            true that Buddha differs from Marx, but such differences can be 
            rationalized" ("The Queen Bee," 1963, P. 23).(7) In a different 
            article, Time informed readers that the Buddhists had also opposed 
            another "fight for freedom" in Asia. "During the Korean War, at 
            least some Buddhists were preaching that `to wipe out the American 
            imperialist demons is not only blameless, but meritorious'" ("The 
            Faith That Lights," 1963, p. 29). 
            Although never stating explicitly that the Buddhists were 
            communists, reports like these gave powerful implicit messages that 
            the communists were at least heavily involved in the protests. The 
            coverage suggested further that although the protests were initially 
            viewed as religious, they were actually political in nature. Indeed, 
            the Buddhist protesters themselves were a nonrepresentative minority 
            opposed to both the Saigon government and American "imperialist" 
            involvement in Asia. 
            Such coverage framed the Buddhist protests as a campaign that, if 
            not communist inspired, at least benefitted the communists in their 
            campaign to destroy freedom in South Vietnam. The "burning monk" -- 
            cast in relief against this background of a political struggle 
            against communists -- would be viewed as an act of anti-American 
            political intimidation. There was only one war taking place, that 
            between the free South Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. 
            Virtuous Saigon Government. Coverage further depicted the government 
            of Ngo Dinh Diem as innocent of any discrimination or violence 
            against the Buddhists. Indeed, in some coverage the Saigon 
            government takes on the characteristics of both victim and hero. 
            Life described the president as a kind of police officer, struggling 
            to keep the peace among monks who threatened more suicides: "As Diem 
            sought to keep order -- even diverting army troops to help out -- 
            two other monks volunteered to commit suicide -- one by fire and one 
            by disembowelment" ("Angry Buddhist Burns," 1963, p. 24). Thus, Diem 
            is portrayed as attempting to stabilize the chaotic situation; he is 
            the concerned official seeking to "keep order' and "help." Indeed he 
            is even diverting troops from the presumably more important struggle 
            against the Viet Cong. The Buddhists are, at best, passive 
            volunteers for gruesome sacrifices, and at worst, fanatics desperate 
            to continue their campaign of civil disobedience. 
            The theme that the Buddhists were responsible for diverting the 
            government from its rightful duty to battle the Communists was 
            repeated in this coverage. The San Diego Union reported that "The 
            government strategic hamlet program was beginning to build morale 
            and win over the population, which had been indifferent and hesitant 
            previously" ("Split Helps Reds," 1963, p. 5). Life related that the 
            United States "had put three billion dollars into the battle against 
            communism" ("Another Monk Gives," 1963, p. 30) and that the 
            Buddhists demonstrations "could mean disaster for Vietnam and for 
            the U.S. commitment there, just when the battle against the 
            Communists may be shifting in our favor' ("Angry Buddhist Burns," 
            1963, p. 24). 
            Diem and his government were also blameless in the earlier Hue 
            demonstrations that precipitated the crisis. The government was 
            described as firing over the heads of the demonstrators, and in "the 
            melee" ("South Viet Nam," 1963, p. 35), "nine people were killed in 
            the confusion" ("Split Helps Reds," 1963, p. 5). This use of the 
            passive voice deflects blame away from the government troops, who 
            were portrayed as simply trying to restore order amidst the chaos. 
            Even the nine victims of the violence -- "killed in the confusion" 
            -- are never described as Buddhists. Indeed, in the National Review, 
            Archbishop Thuc maintains that most of the victims were Catholics or 
            government sympathizers. According to the Archbishop, among the Hue 
            dead were "two Catholic catechumens and four others, sons of 
            policemen or of public officials" ("What is Really Going On," 1963, 
            p. 388). 
            Archbishop Thuc further reframes the suicides by depicting them as 
            murder, accusing the Buddhists of forcing elderly monks to sacrifice 
            In Hue we heard the screams of the bonze destined to be burned at 
            Tu-Dam pagoda, the center of the General Buddhist Association. The 
            refused to die and the other bonzes overwhelmed him with hammer 
            -- this was the reason for the terrifying screams. ("What's Really 
            On," 1963, p. 388) 
            As portrayed, the Buddhists were not religious martyrs, but 
            cold-blooded killers willing to murder their own people to advance a 
            political agenda. The Diem government therefore, could not be held 
            responsible for the images of fiery suicides. Indeed, this coverage 
            seems to reverse the roles of the Buddhists and the government 
            describing the protesters as oppressors and the Diem's government as 
            Thus, the effort to provide a frame of understanding for the images 
            coming out of Vietnam in 1963 became a dialectic when it was 
            enjoined by elements of the media that sought to keep the engaged 
            American public focused on the real struggle in Vietnam; the war 
            against the communists. Their rhetoric employed news source 
            objectivity, `statements by credible officials, and recognition of 
            the pronounced political nature of the Buddhists' actions to 
            downplay concerns regarding Buddhist claims of persecution by the 
            Diem government. The clear message was that religious discrimination 
            against the Buddhists was not taking place in South Vietnam, and 
            that the self-immolation that had caught the attention of the world 
            had been misinterpreted by people who did not have an accurate 
            understanding of events in Southeast Asia. 
            We suggest that our case study can extend and refine our knowledge 
            concerning the rhetorical structuring of visual images. The power of 
            Browne's photographs of Thich Quang Duc's self-immolation seared 
            into the consciousness of the engaged audience, making them more 
            cognizant of Southeast Asia. In so doing, they became what Olson 
            (1987) has termed "speaking pictures," representing South Vietnam to 
            an engaged audience. However, the aesthetic power of these riveting 
            but surreal images from a mysterious place, was due, in part because 
            the act they captured was so unfamiliar to the Americans who 
            participated vicariously in it' Thus, unlike other studies 
            concerning the rhetoric of visual images, the background knowledge 
            and "points of view" of the American audience were insufficient to 
            contextualize these images and instill them with rhetorical meaning. 
            It fell to the more discursive forms of rhetoric found in print 
            media to establish a frame from which the audience could 
            rhetorically interpret the photographs. 
            Olson (1983) has observed that the appeal of Rockwell's "Four 
            Freedoms" posters was broadened through the use of "productive 
            ambiguities." The paintings contained images that were familiar 
            enough so that Americans could identify with them, but ambiguous 
            enough to "promote varied identifications" (p. 16). During World War 
            Two the rhetorical appeal of these paintings was intensified by 
            explanatory texts in the Saturday Evening Post and a government 
            campaign to "educate Americans on behalf of participation in [the 
            war]" (p. 15). With the Browne photographs, however, the ability of 
            the audience to be "actively engaged with the visual text" 
            (Lancioni, 1996, p. 399) was severely limited. Thus, in this case 
            the ambiguity of the images became a battleground in a dialectical 
            struggle to provide the correct "frame" from which to interpret and 
            react to the undeniable power of the visuals. 
            This dialectic offered two competing frames from which to interpret 
            the compelling images of the burning monk. The first situated them 
            against a backdrop of religious oppression and tyranny in South 
            Vietnam. In so doing, it raised major questions about the nature of 
            American involvement in that country. The second marginalized 
            concerns about religious oppression and featured the war against the 
            communists as the only real struggle in that area of the world. 
            While acknowledging the difficulty in determining who "won" this 
            struggle, we are confident in the following observations. It seems 
            that the element of the media that was supportive of President Diem 
            was never really able to counter the perception that there was 
            severe religious oppression in South Vietnam. This impression was 
            undoubtedly bolstered by President Diem's sister-in-law, Madame Nhu, 
            who had an "unfailing instinct for the wrong word at the wrong 
            time." Her references to the Buddhist suicides as "barbecues," 
            helped perpetuate "an intolerable image of the Diem regime, ... 
            never to be expunged" (Hammer, 1987, p. 145). 
            We would maintain, however, that another part of the explanation can 
            be found in Browne's images themselves. As Foss (1985) stated, to be 
            valid, rhetorical meaning attributed to a visual artifact "must be 
            grounded in the material characteristics of the work" (p. 330). We 
            suggest that the validity of some of the pro-Diem frames offered by 
            the media was problematic because they simply could not be grounded 
            in photographs themselves. Browne's pictures show a man sitting 
            calmly and serenely as he is engulfed by the angry flames. These 
            were clearly not images of someone who was forced to fiery suicide 
            against his will by bloodthirsty comrades. It would also be 
            difficult to view these photographs and simultaneously accept the 
            argument that the demands of the Buddhists were exaggerated. An act 
            like the one depicted is not one to be undertaken lightly. 
            Levine (1988) observed that photographic images, "like statistics do 
            not he, but like statistics the truths they communicate are elusive 
            and incomplete" (p. 17). Previous research has focused mainly on 
            those types of visual images in which the engaged audience could 
            draw upon its collective background to facilitate its role in 
            cooperatively ascertaining rhetorical meaning for a visual artifact. 
            Our study suggests that when the knowledge of the audience is 
            insufficient this process becomes more problematic. In such cases it 
            falls to more discursive forms of rhetoric to contextualize the 
            visual artifact in such a way that the audience can be guided toward 
            an understanding of its rhetorical meaning. The print media served 
            that function in 1963 with regard to the burning monk photograph and 
            what it meant concerning American involvement in South Vietnam. 
            As elements of the media engaged in a dialectic to provide the 
            truths of Browne's photographs, they offered interpretations that 
            Levine says are common in the struggle to gain a historical 
            understanding from photographs; "the notion that things must be one 
            way or the other" (p. 22). It is probably the case that the "truth" 
            behind these haunting images lay somewhere between the two 
            polarities offered by the media in 1963. The Catholic dominated 
            government of South Vietnam was undoubtedly brutally repressive 
            toward the Buddhists. But as Hammer (1987) pointed out, 
            "objectively, no single act of the Saigon government seemed to have 
            justified the sacrifice of Thich Quang Duc" (p. 145). Others have 
            maintained that in hindsight it is clear that the Viet Cong were 
            helped immeasurably by the anti-Diem campaign of the Buddhists, and 
            the coup which removed Diem in November 1963 (Ball, 1990; Nolting, 
            As stated previously, in the domain of foreign policy, the struggle 
            over images "is more than a distraction -- it is central" (Smith, 
            1986. p. 324). Visual and dramatic images -- especially those for 
            which the engaged audience possesses a limited ability to calculate 
            rhetorical meaning -- may serve as the catalyst for a struggle over 
            interpretation. That this struggle takes place within the discursive 
            context of the media seems a logical outcome of journalistic 
            inquiry. One such struggle concerning foreign policy in Vietnam 
            occurred in 1963. It would not be the last. 
            (1) Several studies have commented on the active role of the 
            audience in cooperatively establishing the meaning for a visual 
            message. Benson observed that a visual text "positions the spectator 
            as an active participant in the making of meanings" (p. 197). Foss 
            (1986) maintains that there is a "predominant role [for] the 
            audience in the establishment of the meaning of a work of art" (p. 
            330), and this position has been echoed by Lancioni (1996), 
            Trachtenberg (1989), and Scott (1994). Olson has examined the active 
            role of the audience in the attribution of rhetorical meaning to the 
            pre-Revolutionary drawing of Benjamin Franklin (1967), a 
            post-Revolutionary medal designed by Franklin (1990), and the "Four 
            Freedoms" paintings by Norman Rockwell (1983). 
            (2) Sontag (1977) concurs with this need for an accompanying 
            structure for photographs. "A photograph that brings news of some 
            unsuspected zone of misery cannot make a dent in public opinion 
            unless there is an appropriate context of feeling and attitude (p. 
            (3) We would suggest that even the concept of artist intentionality 
            would be troublesome. Others have maintained that the intention of 
            the creator of a visual artifact can provide the audience with clues 
            concerning its rhetorical meaning (Foss 1986). We recognize that 
            Quang Duc's act of self-immolation was obviously an intentional, 
            purposive, confrontational act (although as will be explained, even 
            that was called into question in some quarters of the media), 
            however it is somewhat more problematic to assign any intentionality 
            to Browne, the creator of the unstaged photograph. While the power 
            of the images is undeniable, their meaning -- and thus their ability 
            to "influence people to feel, believe, or act in desired ways" -- 
            had to be discursively provided to an engaged American audience. 
            (4) Saigon's representative in Hue was President Diem's brother, Ngo 
            Dinh Can, "an authoritarian Catholic hated by Buddhists [and] 
            human-rights activists" (Browne, 1993, p. 6). 
            (5) According to Sorensen (1965); "The religious persecutions deeply 
            offended John Kennedy," who denounced the human rights violations in 
            South Vietnam in a speech to the United Nations in September, 1963 
            (p. 657). 
            (6) Although it was well known in Vietnam that Archbishop Ngo Dinh 
            Thuc was President Diem's brother, this is never mentioned in the 
            National Review article. 
            (7) The New York Times reported that the "Buddhists are extremely 
            sensitive to the charge that they are being exploited by the 
            Communists. This has been one of the sorest points in the context 
            that has lasted almost six weeks" ("Rift with Buddhists," 1963, p. 
            (8) Hulteng (1976) observed that "Pictures engage the emotions of 
            the viewer, draw[ing] him[/her] into the news situation being 
            depicted, and let him[/her] share in a vicarious but vivid sense the 
            excitement, the tragedy, or the exultation being experienced by the 
            persons caught up in the news" (p. 159). 
            Agony in South Vietnam (1963, June 27). Christian Science Monitor, 
            p. 18. 
            An angry Buddhist burns. (1963, June 21). Life. p. 24. 
            Another monk gives himself. (1963, September 6). Life. p. 30. 
            Bostdorff, D. M. (1987). Making light of James Watt: A Burkean 
            approach to the form and attitude of political cartoons. Quarterly 
            Journal of Speech, 73, pp. 18-42 
            Browne, M. W. (1993). Muddy boots and red socks: A reporter's lift. 
            New York. Times Books. 
            Browne, M. W. (1965). The new face of war. Indianapolis: 
            Brutality in Vietnam. (1963, July 31). Christian Century, p. 950. 
            Buddhists defy regime in Saigon. (1963, June 13). New York Times. p. 
            Condemn religious tyranny in South Vietnam. (1963, July 17). 
            Christian Century, p. 900. 
            Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. (1985). The 
            U.S. government and the Vietnam War. Executive and Legislative roles 
            and relationships, Part II 1961-1964. Washington: US. Government 
            Printing Office. 
            Corcoran, F. (1983). The bear in the back yard: Myth, Ideology, and 
            victimage Ritual in Soviet Funerals. Communication Monographs, 50, 
            pp. 305-320. 
            Diem and the Buddhists. (1963, June 17). New York Times. p. 18. 
            Diem ask peace in religion crisis. (1963, June 12). New York Times. 
            p. 3. 
            Diem's other crusade. (1963, June 22). New Republic, pp. 5-6. 
            Doyle, E., -- Lipsman, S. (1981). The Vietnam experience: Setting 
            the stage. Boston: Boston Publishing. 
            The faith that lights the fires. (1963, August 23). Time, p. 29. 
            Foss, S. K. (1985). Ambiguity as persuasion: The Vietnam Veterans 
            Memorial. Communication Quarterly, 34, pp. 326-340. 
            Hallin, D. C. (1986). The "uncensored war:" The media and Vietnam. 
            New York. Oxford. 
            Hammer, E. J. (1987). A death in November: America in Vietnam, 1963. 
            New York: E. P. Dutton. 
            Hulteng, J. L. (1976). The messenger's motives: Ethical problems of 
            the news media. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. 
            Karnow, S. (1983). Vietnam: A history. New York. Viking. 
            Lancioni, J. (1996). The rhetoric of the frame revisioning archival 
            photographs in The Civil War. Western Journal of Communication. 60, 
            pp. 397-414. 
            Levine, L. W. (1988). The historian and the icon: Photography and 
            the history of the American people in the 1930s and 1940s." 
            Documentary America, 1935-43. Eds. Carl Fleischauer and Beverly W 
            Brannon. Berkeley: University of California Press. 15-42. 
            MacDonald, G. (1973). Report or distort? New York: Exposition Press. 
            The Mandarins of Hue. (1963, May 27). Newsweek, pp. 49-50. 
            Medhurst M. J., -- DeSousa, M. A. (1981). Political cartoons as 
            rhetorical form: A taxonomy of graphic discourse. Quarterly Journal 
            of Speech, 48, pp. 197-236. 
            Monk suicide by fire in anti-Deim protest. (1963, June 11). New York 
            Times, p. 6. 
            Neilan, E. (1963, July 9). Diem could face fate like Rheels. San 
            Diego Union, p. A7. 
            New war in Vietnam. (1963, June 15). America, p. 849. 
            Nolting, F. (1988). From trust to tragedy: The political memoirs of 
            Frederick Nolting, Kennedy's Ambassador to Diem's Vietnam. New York. 
            Olson, L. C. (1983). Portraits in praise of a people: A rhetorical 
            analysis of Norman Rockwell's icons in Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four 
            Freedoms" Campaign. Quarterly Journal of Speech. 69, pp. 15-24. 
            Olson, L. C. (1987). Benjamin Franklin's pictorial representations 
            of the British Colonies in America: A study in rhetorical iconology. 
            Quarterly Journal of Speech, 73, pp. 18-42. 
            Olson, L. C. (1990). Benjamin Franklin's commemorative medal 
            Libertas Americana: A study in rhetorical iconology. Quarterly 
            Journal of Speech, 76, pp. 23-45. 
            Olson, L. C. (1991). Emblems of American community in the 
            Revolutionary era: A study in rhetorical iconology. Washington: 
            Smithsonian Institution Press. 
            The queen bee. (1963, August 9). Time, pp. 21-25. 
            The religious crisis. (1963, June 14). Time, pp. 35-36. 
            Reporting from Saigon. (1963, August 17). America, p. 152. 
            Rift with Buddhists seems to widen in Vietnam. (1963, June 18). New 
            York Times, p. 8. 
            The road to freedom. (1963, September 10). National Review, pp. 
            Rome and Saigon. (1963, September 4). Christian Century, p. 1067. 
            Saigon concedes two Buddhist points. (1963, June 15). New York 
            Times, p. 1. 
            Saigon incident. (1963, June 12). Christian Science Monitor, p. 2. 
            Saigon in perspective. (1963, August 10). America, p. 126. 
            Salinger, P, (1966). With Kennedy. New York. Doubleday -- Company. 
            Same old Diem. (1963, June 29). Nation, p. 538. 
            Schlesinger, A. M. (1965). A thousand days: John F. Kennedy in the 
            Widle House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 
            Scott, L. M. (1994). Images in advertising: The need for a theory of 
            visual rhetoric. Journal of Consumer Research, 21, pp. 252-273. 
            Smith C. A. (1986). Leadership, orientation, and rhetorical vision: 
            Jimmy Carter, the `New Right,' and the Panama Canal. Presidential 
            Studies Quarterly, 2, pp. 317-328. 
            Smith, R. B. (1983). An international history of the Vietnam War. 
            Volume I Revolution versus containment, 1955-61. London: MacMillan. 
            Smith, R. B. (1985). An international history of the Vietnam War. 
            Volume If The struggle for SouthEast Asia, 1961-65. London: 
            Sobel, L. A. (1973). South Vietnam volume 1: U.S. communist 
            confrontation in Southeast Asia 196-165. New York. Facts on File. 
            Sontag, S. (1977). On photography. New York: Farrar, Straus & 
            Sorensen, T. C. (1965). Kennedy. New York. Harper & Row. 
            South Vietnam: Whose funeral pyre? (1963, June 29). New Republic, p. 
            Split helps reds in South Viet Nam. (1963, June 14). San Diego 
            Union, p. A5. 
            Tiger by the tail. (1963, August 31). America, pp. 207-208. 
            Trachtenberg, A. (1989). Reading American photographs: Images as 
            history Mathew Brady to Walker Evan. New York: Hill and Wang. 
            Trial by fire. (1963, June 21). Time, p. 32. 
            U.S. warns South Vietnam on demands of Buddhists. (1963, June 14). 
            New York Times, p. 2. 
            Vietnam crisis is religious. (1963, September 11). Christian 
            Century, p. 1093. 
            What's really going on in Vietnam. (1963, November 5). National 
            Review, pp. 388-390. 
            Jill E. Rudd (Ph.D., Kent State University, 1991) is Associate 
            Professor, Michael J. Beatty (Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1976) is 
            Professor, and Sally Vogl-Bauer (Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 
            1994) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication 
            Arts, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. Jean A. Dobos (Ph.D., 
            Ohio State University, 1986) is Associate Professor in the School of 
            Communication Studies, Kent State University. An earlier version of 
            this paper was presented at the 1996 meeting of the Speech 
            Communication Association, San Diego, CA.