Politics, media and war: 9/11 and its aftermaths
Politics, media and war: 9/11 and its aftermaths

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

6 Media and the production of spectacle

The media have become increasingly integral to the organisation of contemporary societies. Indeed, for the majority of Western populations, it is now television, newspapers, radio and the internet that provide the primary sources of information regarding political events. Thus, for the next three sections we will be concentrating on how the media have a distinctive role to play in framing public understandings of war and terror, examining both the production and consumption of post-9/11 media images and discourses.

While the media often appear to provide a clear and impartial analysis, it is first important to recognise that media production is rarely a politically neutral process. The information or images offered up by the media do not simply mirror some ‘objective’ or ‘factual’ reality that exists 'out there', but tend to be selected and shaped (explicitly or implicitly) in ways that support the world-views or interests of the people and organisation(s) making the media text. This is not to say that the events portrayed in, say, news and current affairs are simply works of fiction invented by journalists, but rather to suggest that what is often authoritatively presented as real, factual and objective is actually constructed through a process of selection. This process, when examined, can often reveal how embedded social and political values and organisational processes can work to produce different 'realities' of any given situation. You should bear this selectivity in mind as you tackle the readings chosen for this section's study.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371