January 18, 2020

Are those echos of Stalin we hear?

As David Gura reported, based on The Washington Post, The National Archives altered photos from the Women's March that were critical of Donald Trump. To be clear, these photos were altered to remove the criticism. Why would what is essentially one of our most treasured libraries, entrusted to hold documents reflective of our nations history and growth, engage in such an act of censorship?

GURA: A startling erasure, or a blurring, at least. The National Archives admits to making multiple alterations of a photograph of the 2017 Women's March, blurring out signs that were critical of president Trump. A large color photo of the 2017 march now greets visitors at a National Archives exhibit celebrating the centennial of women's suffrage, but according to The Washington Post, if you take a closer look at that photo, you can see that it was, in fact, edited. Here's a side by side look at one of those signs critical of president Trump that was altered, posters referencing women's anatomy also prevalent during that first march also blurred.

The National Archives responded to that article saying in part, "As a non-partisan, non-political federal agency, we blurred references to the president's name on some posters so as not to engage in current political controversy." That statement continuing, "0ur mission is to safeguard and provide access to the nation's most important federal records, and our exhibits are one way in which we connect the American people to those records. Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records."

The Archives later apologized - by the end of Gura's show, as a matter of fact, and he read their apology on the show.

Most are not assuaged, though, nor should they be. The initial action itself raises a number of troubling questions that demand answers in places that aren't the Weimar Republic. Who ordered this erasure, as Gura rightfully called it? Why was it ordered and carried out? Everyone and their uncle on Twitter is calling bullsh*t on the National Archives' actions and apology.

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