Free Lifting The Media Ban On Military Casualties Abroad Critical Thinking Sample
On February 26, 2009, President Obama’s administration lifted the two-decade ban on media coverage of the honor guard ceremonies of military casualties from the war abroad. This change in policy gives back to the media the right to cover ceremonies wherein caskets draped in American flags return home from war, only after the soldiers’ families were consulted.
According to an online article of The National Security Archive, the press had access to cover the honor ceremonies ever since World War II up until the end of the 1989 Panama invasion. However, in the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991, President Bush I administration enforced the censorship to respect the grieving families of the dead by protecting them from media glare.
The news article, accompanied by a chronology of events that led to the ban, stipulates that the 1989 controversy on the media coverage at the Dover Air Force Base was related to the imposition of the ban. Just after the US invasion of Panama, three networks decided to broadcast simultaneously two events on a split screen. One covering the military ceremony while the other broadcasting Bush I’s news conference on the invasion. While the solemn ceremony for the dead was aired, Bush was joking in the other screen. This irony aggravated some of the viewers.
Since its implementation, the media blackout has been welcomed with criticisms and oppositions especially from the media. Some speculated that the ban was “clearly meant to hide the cost of war” during the Gulf War.
In 2004, the news media led by CNN correspondent, Professor Ralph Begleiter together with the National Security Archive filed a lawsuit against the Bush II Administration’s Department of Defense to make public the coverage of the honor ceremonies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The next year, the case was dismissed. Only after President Obama was inaugurated in 2009 was the ban reviewed and lifted.
I personally believe that the new policy is one of the right things that the Obama administration did. This gives back the right for our nation and all its citizens, not just the family, to grieve collectively for our fallen heroes. The new ban also gives the power to the family to choose whether to let the media cover the event or not. They can opt to keep the ceremony private and solemn, away from media glare or they can allow the whole nation to mourn with them.
“Obama Administration Lifts Blanket Ban on Media Coverage of the Return of Fallen Soldiers.” The National Security Archive, 26 Feb. 2009. Web. 13 Jan. 2015
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