In this essay, I document shifts in the political mediascape of the United States during the past fifteen years, focusing on the rise of partisan television networks and radio shows of the Left and the Right and the rise of alternative media and social networking that provided a wide diversity of opinion and critique of the dominant political and corporate order. I argue that this shift in the US mediascape helped elect Barack Obama, which in turn intensified contestation for and against Obama and the Democrats within contemporary US politics. I then indicate how Barack Obama used the media and media spectacle to successfully win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections. I conclude with a discussion of how new and alternative media can help to promote genuine democratic debate and help disseminate the full range of information and ideas necessary to have a robustly democratic social order.

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