The Washington Post used their time on Super Bowl LIII on Sunday to defend journalism in a turbulent time.

Tom Hanks, who played the paper’s historic executive editor Ben Bradlee in the recent feature film The Post, lent his voice to the publication's first-ever Super Bowl advert, where the paper chose to celebrate journalism and defend against criticism.

Hanks narrated a 60-second spot which aired during the game and featured images of the most famous stories since World War Two.

Photos included the Selma March and the moon landing.

Hanks said:

When we go off to war, when we exercise our rights, when we soar to our greatest heights, when we mourn and pray, when our neighbours are at risk, when our nation is threatened, there’s someone to gather the facts, to bring you the story no matter the cost.

At this point, photographs of journalists who were killed in the line of duty were shown on screen, including Austin Tice, Mari Colvin and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Because knowing empowers us, knowing helps us decide, knowing keeps us free,” Hanks continued.

The video ended after Hank stopped talking, the screen turned to black and The Washington Post is stamped on the screen, along with the words:

Democracy dies in darkness.

People are calling the advert, and its message, the most important part of the Super Bowl.

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