Two of the decade’s biggest stories came early on with the New York Times’ reporting of the Pentagon Papers in 1 971 and the Washington sot’s coverage of Watergate scandal between 1972 and 1976. 1 The ass’s displayed a trend of younger journalists with higher ideals. Instead of simply covering the news on the government with blind-eye objectivity, journalists began actively seeking Ways to analyze and expose any type Of dishonesty in its actions. 2 The Pentagon Papers scandal turned the American public against the Vietnam War and exposed the U. S.
Government for its lies and false promises over the past decade-3 Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reporting of the Watergate scandal is considered one of the high points in American investigative journalism. By using a variety of sources and interrogating U. S. Government officials inside the White House and the FBI, Woodward and Bernstein published numerous stories showing proof of am illegal presidential cover-up and “dirty trick” politics-4 The Watergate scandal demonstrated how new technology began to aid the delivery of the news in the sass’s.
Television, for example, began to take off, as people were now able to easily see and believe the news in a timely fashion, rather than simply reading about it. On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon formally signed from the office of President in a televised broadcast. 5 It was a defining moment in American history, as Nixon became the first president to willingly give up his position. The televised address confirmed that Americans were beginning to view television as a primary source of information. Nightly news broadcasts also expanded upon their success from the 1 ass’s.
Each of the three major television networks had their own recognizable and respected journalists helping their newscasts. For example, Walter Coronate, who was hailed as “The Most Trusted Man in America,” anchored CBS. Nab’s am of John Chancellor and David Brinkley were a strong second, while BBC had a newscast heeled by Howard K. Smith-6 Of course, the increased reliance on television in turn slightly decreased the importance of radio in the daily lives of Americans. Television and newspapers firmly became the leading news outlets during this time.
Thus, because there was not as wide a variety of viable news sources (online, cable television, etc. ), audiences were not as fragmented as they are today in finding the news. 7 The ass’s also brought forth economic and social changes in the lives Of American citizens, which made obtaining the news even more relevant during the time. Major trends included greater cynicism of government, advancement in civil rights, increased influence of the women’s movement, and environmental awareness. 8 During the course of the Vietnam War, Americans suffered through a slight depression.
The news, in television and paper, became a way to constantly stay aware of national and international proceedings. 9 The war led to a heightened interest in daily-televised news. In turn, the Vietnam War became commonly known as the “Living Room” War, as families were able to e the violence occurring overseas. 10 In addition, the Watergate scandal, Roe v. Wade in 1973, the Fall of Saigon in 1975, among other major news stories, were all landmark historical moments?thus making the news more culturally relevant than ever at the time.
A new “norm” in journalism also appeared during the sass’s decade known as “New Journalism,” or “literary journalism. ” 1 1 The works in the new genre were characterized by adding novelistic twists to reportage. Usual standards of accuracy were usually nonexistent and were often dependent on the mood of a place or event-12 Writers such as Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson and others created a form of journalism in which writers became more artistic and created “nonfiction novels. ” The accuracy and reporting in these stories became the subject of controversy and caused mistrust in journalistic integrity. 3 Traditional journalists argued that the professional journalistic norms of accuracy and factual verifiability discouraged the use of techniques such as inner monologue and excessive, over-the-top detail. However, the controversy of fact-and-fiction reporting in the 197(Yes led to more established ales and guidelines for journalists. Many major journalistic organizations and individual news organizations established codes and standards to limit the involvement of their journalists in activities that could potentially “embarrass their organizations. 14 Thus, while much of the ass’s reflected a “crusading yet-objective” style of journalism, sensationalism and exaggeration were both still very much present. The relationship between the government and the media remained ever changing throughout the decade. In 1 970, President Nixon created the Office of Telecommunications Policy in order to stress the sing importance of media in new formats. 15 During this time, news coverage of the Vietnam War via television showed Americans the horrors of war overseas and public sentiment towards Nixon and the war turned sour.
The Top’s criticism of public broadcastings coverage of the Nixon administration, however, undermined congressional support for public broadcasting. 16 Another major development in 1 970 was the creation of National Public Radio. NP began producing and distributing a variety of news programs and specials, funded by the government’s Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CAB). 7 Ata time when television was gaining momentum, a variety of different government actions inhibited further progression Of public broadcasting.