Historical Drifts Without Paradigm Shifts: A Historical Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of Social Protest
Unformatted Document Text:
Protest Coverage in Wisconsin Newspapers 1960-1999 -9-
marketing specialists, and education consultants entered the corridors of power and rethought the
capacities of the government. Authorities and experts from universities, business corporations,
and other large-scale institutions that were increasingly shaping daily life in America and the
world (Farber, 1994).
Young radicals in America in the 1960s saw the infiltration of the political system,
leading them to question the ideological bulwark of American society. They challenged the
integrity and virtue of basic institutions and values that had donned the mantle of American
tradition such as the nuclear family, anticommunism, material progress, gender roles, individual
merit and social status. Public life came out of its narrow confines, changing power relations that
were earlier either privately negotiated or simply part of unquestionable tradition.
In the 1990s, some of the solutions of the sixties became part of the problem—the
meaning of virtue in an unanchored marketplace of ideas and values, cynicism of all government,
international competition, and even the definition of who was the “we” in the public sphere of
Despite the diversity of issues around which these movements and protests were
organized over the years, there has been a common quest among the organizers and followers of
social movements seeking to expand political participation. The were also united in their critique
of centralized and bureaucratized apparatuses, and their skepticism about a one-sided (economic)
concept of progress (Rucht, 1991). This points us to the next research question.
RQ4. From an analysis of Wisconsin newspapers’ coverage of protests over the years,
who are the different players presented as the targets of various social movements?
What they see is not always what you get: The journalistic paradigm in social protest