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Refocusing America: American Society Through the Camera's Lens, 1945-2000
Unformatted Document Text:  the ‘exploded concept of what is news.’ 20 Yet how could this novel approach be reconciled with the long- revered myth of objectivity? For Daniel Hallin, the answer rests in journalists’ ability to remain objective while sustaining a sense of `disinterested professionalism.’ 21 By covering the shortcomings of the government, as in the Watergate scandal, journalists remained detached from their stories, distanced from their subjects. America’s cultural civil war not only impacted the news organization, but is closely identified with the rise of what has been deemed `adversary culture.’ Traced to the mid-1950s with the appearance of rock n’ roll and the beats, the emergence of this group laid the foundation for the wholly different form culture assumed in the 1960s and 1970s. With the social and cultural roots of 1960s movements situated within the latter part of the 1950s, it is not unlikely that the social/cultural would appear more visibly during this time. During the 1960s, the New Left, initially a political movement whose ideology lay rooted in dissatisfaction with `establishment liberalism,’ developed. Seeking to engage Americans more actively in politics, SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), an organization wedded to New Left convictions, called upon the individual to “share in those social decisions determining the quality and direction of his life…” 22 , extending the notion of `participatory democracy.’ Politics was redefined. As the New Left launched its attack on the establishment, society witnessed the formation of what is often perceived as a hedonistic, apolitical counterculture of disenchanted youth who listened to the music of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Arlo Guthrie, experimented with mind-expanding drugs, and was entirely devoid of discipline. Though elements of this assessment are not inherently untrue, as Todd Gitlin and Charles Kaiser assert, the rock culture of this group attached, rather than detached, the counterculture to mainstream society. There was more to the story. 19 Michael Schudson, Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (New York: Basic Books, 1978) 187. 20 Jules Witcover, “Washington: the news explosion,” Columbia Journalism Review Spring 1969: 25. 21 Daniel C. Hallin, We Keep America on Top of the World: Journalism and the Public Sphere (New York: Routledge, 1994) 25. 22 Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1993) 102.

Authors: Maurantonio, Nicole.
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the ‘exploded concept of what is news.’
20
Yet how could this novel approach be reconciled with the long-
revered myth of objectivity? For Daniel Hallin, the answer rests in journalists’ ability to remain objective
while sustaining a sense of `disinterested professionalism.’
21
By covering the shortcomings of the
government, as in the Watergate scandal, journalists remained detached from their stories, distanced
from their subjects.
America’s cultural civil war not only impacted the news organization, but is closely identified
with the rise of what has been deemed `adversary culture.’ Traced to the mid-1950s with the appearance
of rock n’ roll and the beats, the emergence of this group laid the foundation for the wholly different form
culture assumed in the 1960s and 1970s. With the social and cultural roots of 1960s movements situated
within the latter part of the 1950s, it is not unlikely that the social/cultural would appear more visibly
during this time.
During the 1960s, the New Left, initially a political movement whose ideology lay rooted in
dissatisfaction with `establishment liberalism,’ developed. Seeking to engage Americans more actively in
politics, SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), an organization wedded to New Left convictions, called
upon the individual to “share in those social decisions determining the quality and direction of his
life…”
22
, extending the notion of `participatory democracy.’ Politics was redefined.
As the New Left launched its attack on the establishment, society witnessed the formation of
what is often perceived as a hedonistic, apolitical counterculture of disenchanted youth who listened to
the music of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Arlo Guthrie, experimented with mind-expanding drugs, and
was entirely devoid of discipline. Though elements of this assessment are not inherently untrue, as Todd
Gitlin and Charles Kaiser assert, the rock culture of this group attached, rather than detached, the
counterculture to mainstream society. There was more to the story.
19
Michael Schudson, Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (New York: Basic
Books, 1978) 187.
20
Jules Witcover, “Washington: the news explosion,” Columbia Journalism Review Spring 1969: 25.
21
Daniel C. Hallin, We Keep America on Top of the World: Journalism and the Public Sphere (New York:
Routledge, 1994) 25.
22
Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1993) 102.


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