It’s unwise to be sniffy about popular culture.
Television — the idiot box, the boob tube — was best of friends with the civil rights movement in the 1960s, bringing its valiant images, week after week, into American homes. Pictorial glossies like Life and Look had done a similar service a decade earlier.
Were such corporate media acting on unsuspected reserves of social good will? For the most part, no. They had news to sell, and the illustrations for that news — images of people subjected to violence and then gathering together in the largest mass meeting the country had ever seen — happened to be sensational. You had to pay attention. You couldn’t not have a reaction.