The Five o'clock Follies
is a derogatory term from the Vietnam War
for the daily official military press briefing
s held for reporters in Saigon
The "Five o'clock Follies," became the baseline reporting on the war. Military officials provided news releases and verbal accounts of battlefield and air activity. They became infamous for their rosy scenarios about the war. The briefings were much ridiculed - especially by reporters who never went into the field.
But the best reporters and news organizations only used these official pronouncements as an on-the-record, official version of events to compare with information from field reporters and other sources. They would take the official word, run it by soldiers actually fighting the war, and combine and contrast the official military view with what was really happening across Vietnam.
During the Gulf War, the military changed the time of the press briefings to disassociate themselves from the Vietnam era. So, during Desert Storm they were known as the "Four o'clock Follies."
The Five O'clock Follies
is also a book by Mike Kukler, former Chief of Information for American Troops in Vietnam.