The Worst of Times, the Best of Times.
After the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s, the 1970s in general seemed a less exciting decade. In the media, however, things were definitely exciting, particularly as the concerns of the preceding decade affected everyday practice in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. The media helped to uncover military abuses during the Vietnam War and exposed a corrupt presidential administration; magazines promoted social reforms with a vigor they had lacked for several years; and even television adopted a more socially responsible standpoint. The United States as a whole may have seemed to linger in a cultural and political malaise during the 1970s, but the media were more active than ever.
Because of the political malaise of the decade, many social problems were addressed in the media and entertainment rather than in more practical arenas. Much of the entertainment media was simply commercial, but even popular situation comedies and television dramas addressed social issues. Norman Lear's situation comedies, particularly All in the Family, dealt with controversial issues television usually avoided, such as race relations, feminism, sexuality, and abortion. Likewise, M*A*S*H mixed the humor of the sitcom with the horror of a war drama. A new wave of minority...
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