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

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6.4 Conclusion

In conclusion, this section we have identified the ways in which the execution and the reporting of 9/11 and the subsequent Iraq War have relied upon the production of media 'spectacles' in the context of an ongoing 'image-war'. The media is now seen as a vital tool for both terrorists and governments, offering a means to disseminate and communicate causes, values and beliefs, providing a channel for provoking (and assuaging) fear, creating moral legitimacy and swaying public opinion.

While the Western media tend to create spectacles and reports that promote only US and allied interests, we should note that the media spectacle is always somewhat unstable and inconsistent – and that independent and critical media images and discourses can disrupt the dominant message, providing a crucial corrective to more conventional and established pro-war arguments. Indeed, the idea that the media are a diverse constituency, containing a plurality of critical perspectives, dissenting voices – and, indeed, discerning audiences – is something that we will examine in the forthcoming sections.

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