This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book focuses on the national television news narratives about the second wave of feminism that proliferated in 1970, a year in which the networks' eagerness to make sense of the movement for their viewers was accompanied by feminists' efforts to use national media for their own purposes. The interaction of these efforts produced coverage that was distinguished by its contradictions—it ranged from sympathetic to patronizing, from thoughtful to sensationalistic, and from evenhanded to overtly dismissive. The effects of the movement's heightened public profile proved to be equally unpredictable. Even negative coverage had positive outcomes for movement growth; at the same time, some feminist media activism that proved surprisingly successful had an adverse effect on movement cohesion.
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