Douglas Kellner's Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy: 9/11, the War on Iraq, and Election 2004 investigates the role of the media in the momentous political events of the past four years. Beginning with the role of the media in contested election of 2000, Kellner examines how corporate media ownership and concentration, linked with a rightward shift of establishment media, have disadvantaged the Democrats and benefited George W. Bush and the Republicans. Exploring the role of media spectacle in the 9/11 attacks and subsequent Terror War in Afghanistan and Iraq, Kellner documents the centrality of media politics in advancing foreign policy agendas and militarism. Building on his analysis in Media Spectacle (Routledge 2003), Kellner demonstrates in detail how conflicting political forces ranging from Al Qaeda to the Bush administration construct media spectacles to advance their politics. Two chapters critically engage the role of the media in the buildup to the Iraq war and the media-centric nature of Bush's Iraq invasion and occupation. Final chapters delineate the role of the media in the highly contested and significant 2004 election campaign that many believe to be one of the key political struggles of the contemporary era. Criticizing Bush's unilateralism, Kellner argues for a multilateral and cosmopolitan globalization and the need for democratic media to help overcome the current crisis of democracy in the United States.
"One of the great books on media and politics in recent years. Kellner provides crystal clear analysis of what he accurately characterizes as a stunning crisis, for both our media system and our electoral system., and democracy more broadly. This book deserves to be read by all who care about core freedoms. Kellner, one of the outstanding media scholars of our times, has produced his finest work."
--Robert W. McChesney, author of The Problem of the Media
Introduction: Media Spectacle and Politics in the Contemporary Era Chapter 1: Grand Theft 2000: Media Spectacle and a Stolen Election Chapter 2: 9/11, Spectacles of Terror, and Perpetual War Chapter 3: The Axis of Evil, Preemptive Strikes, and the Road to Iraq Chapter 4: Pandora's Box: Bush's War on Iraq Chapter 5: Media Spectacle and Election 2004 Chapter 6: Decision 2004: The War for the White House Conclusion: The Media, Elections, and the Crisis of Democracy