Beginning of the 21st Century (04:03)
The 2000s ushered in a new reality. The decade started with the close election of George W. Bush over Al Gore. The results were uncertain because of confused final results from Florida.
Bush vs. Gore (03:56)
Results from Florida were too close to call, so a recount was implemented. The Supreme Court declared George W. Bush the winner. Some people think the ruling was a travesty of justice and others think the Supreme Court upheld the constitution.
Elian Gonzalez (06:23)
The 6-year-old lone survivor of a boat crossing from Cuba to Miami, was at the center of an intensely mediated international child custody battle. Gore and Bush agreed the case should have gone to family court. Many Cuban/Americans found fault with the Clinton administration, turning out in greater numbers during the 2000 election.
The television program was the first reality game show that caught the public imagination. It was a mirror on society, speaking to an idea of American individualism and creating alliances— a political theme of the decade.
U.S.S. Cole (04:20)
The beginning of the War on Terror started on October 12, 2001 when the U.S.S. Cole was attacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists. Commander Kirk Lippold says this was a declaration of war the U.S. ignored.
Media Obsessions (02:38)
Representative Gary Condit was implicated, though later cleared, in the murder of Chandra Levy. In the summer of 2001, shark attacks became another media obsession.
Reactions to 9/11 (04:22)
Celebrities, politicians, and media personalities relate their feelings, experiences, and reactions to the destruction of the World Trade Center. Dick Cheney calls it an act of war. Michael Moore says Rudy Giuliani acted like a father.
"Laughter is the Best Medicine" (05:21)
After 9/11, comedians could not find humor in the tragedy or if they tried, audiences reacted negatively. The Onion set aside its iconoclastic stance for more supportive humor. Mayor Giuliani appeared on Saturday Night Live, breaking the ice about using humor to talk about 9/11.
Digital Music Revolution (06:17)
In 2000, Steve Jobs released the iPod, which would become the most popular digital audio player ever. Sharing music through Napster challenged the record industry. Itunes took ideas from Napster and made downloading music from the Internet popular and profitable.
Anthrax Attacks (05:01)
From September 18 until October 9, 2001, several letters laced with anthrax spores were mailed to news media and government offices. Scientist Steve Hatfill became a primary suspect. Another suspect, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide.
Escapist Entertainment (02:57)
Two weeks after 9/11, President Bush urged Americans to return to normalcy. Escapist fantasy movies and video games there were more cinematic became popular.
Battle of Tora Bora (05:12)
Osama Bin Laden was known to be in his stronghold. A small group of special forces went to capture him. There was no coherent plan, friendly Afghan forces declared a cease fire, and Bin Laden escaped.
Beltway Sniper Attacks (05:56)
Soon after 9/11 and the anthrax scare, several people were randomly killed in Washington D.C., creating an atmosphere of fear. A phone call from the snipers led to their identification; they were arrested.
"The Osbournes" (05:28)
The reality show featuring the daily lives of Ozzy Osbourne and his family became the most viewed series on MTV. It paved the way for creating celebrities out of "nobodies."
Enron Crisis (06:07)
The crisis wreaked havoc on California’s electricity supply. The company jugged supply and demand, performed illegal accounting, created fictitious companies, and recorded future profits as current profits. The company declared bankruptcy and its CEO, Jeff Skilling went to jail.
Lead Up to Iraq War (05:05)
Dick Cheney says the Bush doctrine justified pre-emptive military action against the possibility of a terrorist threat. The administration sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN to present evidence of Saddam Hussein making weapons of mass destruction; the evidence was flawed.
Iraq War Begins (05:31)
In the lead up to the Iraq war, much of the public and mainstream media supported it. On March 19, the U.S. invaded Iraq with shock and awe tactics. At the Oscars, Michael Moore denounced George Bush and the war.
Interpreting Reality (03:43)
On April 9, 2003, a Saddam Hussein sculpture is removed during a staged event. On May 3, President Bush declared the mission accomplished. There was a new reality in America that did not correspond to actual reality.
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