chapter  7
The production of celebrities and the production of leadership
Pages 13

The effect of the montage was to compare Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Like these two notoriously overexposed blondes, the ad insinuated, the flashy, young senator from Illinois should never be trusted to serve as president. By the very act of defining him as a celebrity, the ad declared him unfit for any such office. The implication behind the words and images was that because celebrities are merely false media constructions devoid of real accomplishment, ability, or authenticity, they are the polar opposite of “real leaders.” Without even mentioning John McCain, the ad sought to remind voters that he, by contrast, was a real leader and a real hero, a Navy fighter pilot and decorated veteran of the Vietnam war who had been

shot down over Hanoi, severely wounded, tortured, and held in a POW camp for nearly six years.