"The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images." ~ Guy Debord, 1967 (Society of the Spectacle)
Debord's seminal work is a critique of commodity fetishism and consumer culture, as well as class alienation and cultural homogenization. Mass media is now, however, propagated by government/corporate entities and the masses themselves. Thus, documented public spectacles are often repurposed and take on a life/message of their own.
The spectacle of the 2017 presidential inauguration -- comparison photos of Obama's attendance in 2013 versus Trump's -- and the latter's insistance his crowd was bigger than media stated, launched parodies mocking Trump's insecurity about popular support (#inaugurationcrowd, #inauguration). "Trial by Twitter" is an increasingly popular pasttime; incidents like the United Airlines passenger removal (#UnitedAirlinesNewMoto), ICE's "Criminal Alien" reporting hotline (#criminalalien), and public missteps like the "Bowling Green Massacre" (#BowlingGreenMassacre) and comments on Jackson/the Civil War (#CivilWar) are taken up by the masses and vollied back in a spectacle all their own.
The proliferation of Black Lives Matter marches in response to video-documentation of police britality across the United States has generated a collective perception of "march" spectacles, in which generally peaceful marchers are intimidated or assaulted by riot police (#blacklivesmattermarch). Mass protests, generally to draw attention to issues of race, gender, and class alienation or oppression, have become spectacle backdrops in response to other gaffs, like the Pepsi/Kendall Jenner fracas (#kendalljenner #pepsi).
Spectacles of protest also provide visual narratives that enhance other avenues of speech, like record album covers, which provide a socio-political context for musicians' lyrical and narrative themes (see Rage Against the Machine's self-titled album, Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime cover, and Disturbed's Ten Thousand Fists cover). Videos are another visual medium through which muscians can repurpose historical spectacle to add a meta-narrative to their music; see clip from Draconian's 2016 release "Stellar Tombs," in which the horror of 20th C spectacle (the A-bomb, fascism, mass anti-war protests) is superimposed over the characters' story arc (see video link).
These multi-media responses to contemporary events repurpose spectacle create "protest rhetoric," rejecting the pro-forma narratives of mass-marketed politics, social strife, and even consumerism, for glimpses (or parodies) of reality.