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From its introduction, television has broadcast the drama of conflict. In its glory years after 1948 and until the early 1960s, cowboys and Indians shot it out in TV Westerns, Americans battled the Germans and Japanese in reruns of World War II combat pictures, and broadcast journalists covered Cold War stories. By the start of the Vietnam War, new technologies and slackened military censorship allowed extensive television coverage of the battlefield, generating heated controversies over the role of the media in wartime. Meanwhile, fictional portraits of war on the small screen became more graphic amid the general liberalization of culture in the 1960s and 1970s and advancing cynicism about the military and government. By the 1980s and 1990s, a slew of small, successful military operations; ...

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