Matt Farwell’s painstaking timeline of over a hundred years of American information suppression, secret bureaucracies, and “anti-disinformation” scares
The turn of the last century brought an age of revolutions, industrial warfare and nearly instantaneous communications across long distances. With these developments came an emphasis on another method of war: information war. This was the type of fight waged with what World War II Deputy Director of the Office of Censorship, Theodore F. Koop, called “Silent Weapons,” in a wartime memoir he published in 1946. Wrote Koop:
The censors’ shears were bayonets that not only formed a rear-guard national defense but also struck hard at the enemy in all three phases of warfare—military, economic, and psychological.
Koop would go on to run CBS News in Washington, DC. Well-known as a powerful media figure, he was also a trusted one, the man who hired Walter Cronkite.
Less well-known was that in 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower asked him to run a secret national censorship program intended for use in Cold War emergencies. He accepted the offer while still a network news executive, serving in that contingency role under Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
Categories: Tech Censorship
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