WASHINGTON - News photographers will be able to cover the arrival of U.S. war dead if families approve, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
Gates reversed a policy put in place in 1991 at the outbreak of the Gulf War under President George H.W. Bush, The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) reported. The policy had been continued by presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
The policy followed an incident during the invasion of Panama in 1989 when U.S. TV networks used a split screen to carry a Bush news conference at the same time they showed pictures of the arrival of the first bodies at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The limitation was also inspired by a feeling in the military that TV coverage of casualties in Vietnam helped turn public opinion against that war, the Post said.
Military families and veterans groups have been split on the issue of photographing the arrivals of coffins at Dover.
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