US to lift 1991 ban on Media Coverage of American flag-draped coffins

Check out this Washington Post article on the plan to lift the 1991 ban on media coverage of American flag draped coffins arriving from overseas at Dover Air Force Base.

My first instinct was to say, “Good for us.”  Despite the legions of US families touched by military service and the realities of war, I think so many of us are still quite distanced from what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our country.  Perhaps it would not be such a bad thing for us to absorb those images of flag draped coffins…reiterating the sacrifice that is going on overseas on our behalf.  Perhaps it would encourage a few more Americans to write to their own congressmen and congresswomen with the plea, “Please bring them home.”

Writing from a mother’s perspective, however, and with children who will not be of military service age for quite some time, I can’t help but wonder:  how would a mother (or father) feel about knowing their son or daughter’s final return home was captured on film?  Would they feel like their child’s death-in-service would somehow be slightly vindicated?  Would media coverage of their son or daughter’s casket bring honor, or a sense of intrusion?

I’m curious to hear feedback on this issue.  My mind is still not completely made up.  (Liz, what does Greg say about this?)

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3 Comments

Filed under politics

3 responses to “US to lift 1991 ban on Media Coverage of American flag-draped coffins

  1. I understand your ambivalence. I suffer from it too.

    On one hand, such coverage provides a more visceral accountability to the politicians who send our soldiers into harm’s way.

    On the other hand, the press has a very, very poor record of dealing with our soldiers, living or dead. I think they’d be all too likely to exploit these fallen warriors for their own selfish benefit and to further their own agendas.

  2. Jonolan,

    You hit the nail on the head re: my ambivalence: the potential for the media to “exploit these fallen warriors for their own selfish benefit…”

    In the one and only journalism class I took in college, this is one of the major topics that stood out for me: the call to respect the deceased in photojournalism and reporting. Unfortunately, this call is not always respected. It will be interesting to see what the US media does with this newly granted opening…

  3. Shelly

    The media will exploit this. P.S. Pass along to everyone you know… Do not do business with Bank of America or GM or Chrysler. The have take billions of our money and continue to fly private jets and throw lavish parties. The government will not act so we the people must by starting a boycott of these companies.

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