Cover of Conflicted by Isaac Blacksin
Making News from Global War
Isaac Blacksin


July 2024
330 pages.
from $32.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503638242
Paperback ISBN: 9781503639447
Ebook ISBN: 9781503639454

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Excerpts and More

How is popular knowledge of war shaped by the stories we consume, what are the boundaries of this knowledge, and how are these boundaries policed or contested by journalists producing knowledge from war zones? Based on years of fieldwork in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, Conflicted challenges normative conceptions of war by revealing how representational authority comes to be. Turning the lens on journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other prominent publications, Isaac Blacksin shows why news coverage of contemporary conflict, widely presumed to function as a critique of excessive violence, instead serves to sanction official rationales for war.

Blacksin argues that journalism's humanitarian frame—now hegemonic in conflict coverage—serves to depoliticize and remoralize war, transforming war from an effect of policy on populations to a matter of violence against the innocent. Exploring the tension between experience and expression in conditions of violence, and tracking how journalists respond to dominant expectations of reality, Conflicted tells the story of war, reporters, and the consequences of their convergence. As new wars, and new reportage, continue to shape our understanding of armed conflict, this book makes visible both the power and the particularity of war reportage.

About the author

Isaac Blacksin is an ethnographer and Assistant Professor of Critical Media Studies in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Texas A&M University.

"Blacksin's clear interpretive voice plies journalism's unconscious, bringing to the fore the fear and trauma that is excised from reporting. Conflicted is a truly extraordinary book—written with aplomb, thoroughly researched, and thoughtful through and through. A landmark text in the literature on the mediation of war."

—Alex Fattal, author of Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia

"We live in an age of war and depend for our war stories on the men and women who serve as our witnesses. War reporters are a legendary breed whose vital work has gone largely unexamined—until now. Conflicted is quite simply the most thorough, intelligent, and unflinching examination of conflict reporting ever attempted. Isaac Blacksin has been there and his provocative account made me nod in recognition, grin in appreciation, and shout in outrage. For those transfixed by war—and determined to learn how we reallyknow what we think we know about it—this book is essential reading."

—Mark Danner, author of Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War and Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War