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“In 2009, the Obama administration made the decision to cancel the practice of censoring photographs of servicemen’s coffins as they arrived back from Iraq or Afghanistan.
The policy had been put in place 18 years earlier during the First Gulf War to protect national morale but was ultimately criticized for hiding the truth about the war from the American public and by doing so, allowing it to continue.
Military censorship, much like propaganda, is essentially a modern phenomenon. Both are born of an amalgamation of all-out war, where public opinion factors into the home front’s resilience, and by extension improving the chance to ultimately win over mass media outlets.
During WWI, many of the fighting nations were quick to set up dedicated censorship authorities responsible for how and when the names of soldiers who were dying each day should be released to the public and how much information should be available as well.
In the 100 years since the complex efforts of censors became more and more difficult as mass media technologies evolved. The American practice of banning publication of any images of these coffins was unusual for its time and has since been scrapped.”
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