Blogging the 2003 Iraq War: Challenging the Ideological Model of War and Mainstream Journalism?


  • Bart Cammaerts London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Nico Carpentier Free University of Brussels



Blogs, War, Iraq, Alternative Media, Mainstream Media, Hegemony, Counter-Hegemony


This article examines the role of the internet in 2003 Iraq war from the perspective of the challenges it poses to the practices and formats of mainstream journalism and to the hegemonic articulations of war. Theoretically centralizing the concept of hegemony (as a network of interlocking but still distinct hegemonies), it positions blogs as alternative media by contrasting them to mainstream journalistic routines in situations of war and the tendency of mainstream media to essentialise the other/the enemy. Three very distinct cases are examined. First, the Iraqi blogger Salam Pax; second, the so-called mil-blogs and third the role of the internet in the distribution and archiving of the Abu Ghraib photographs. In each case, the discourses being produced are analysed in terms of the extent to which they challenge the hegemony of mainstream journalism and of the ideological model of war. While blogs certainly provide an alternative space for the production of different and counter-hegemonic narratives of war, approaching these blogs as inherently alternative and counter-hegemonic is deemed too simplistic. Some blogs re-enforce hegemony, and others are appropriated within the mainstream precisely because of their personalised and distinct narrative. At the same time this appropriation can also lead to hegemony striking back, disciplining the blogosphere or including some and excluding others from the mainstream public space.




How to Cite

Cammaerts, B., & Carpentier, N. (2009). Blogging the 2003 Iraq War: Challenging the Ideological Model of War and Mainstream Journalism?. Observatorio (OBS*), 3(2).