W. Joseph Campbell is an American writer, educator, historian, media critic, and blogger. He has written seven solo-authored books, the most recent of which examines polling failure in U.S. presidential elections. The title is Lost in a Gallup, which one reviewer praised as a “bracing reality check.”

Campbell’s published works include the award-winning, media-mythbusting work, Getting It Wrong (University of California Press, 2010, 2017). Critics have referred to Campbell as “the man who calls journalists on their own B.S.” and “the master of debunk.

He also is the author of the well-received 1995: The Year the Future Began (University of California Press, 2015) and The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897 and the Clash of Paradigms (Routledge, 2006).

Campbell is a professor of communication at American University in Washington, D.C. He earned his doctorate in mass communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before entering the academy, Campbell was a professional journalist for 20 years, a career that took him across North America to Europe, West Africa, and parts of Asia.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Ohio Wesleyan University which awarded him its Distinguished Alumni Citation at a ceremony in 2014, shown in the image below.

Recent Posts: Commentary: W. Joseph Campbell

Why we are so enamored with pre-election polls

(This essay originally was post at the Conversation online site on 29 October 2020.) The Republican pollster Frank Luntz warned on Twitter and elsewhere the other day that if preelection polls in this year’s presidential race are embarrassingly wrong again, “then the polling industry is done.” It was quite the forecast. While it is possible […]

Disrupting the endgame: Five scenarios

(This essay originally was post at the Conversation online site on 21 October 2020.) The storyline of the presidential campaign seems to be solidifying, as polls show Joe Biden maintaining a sizable lead over President Donald J. Trump. But the lead may not be insurmountable, and the election is not over. The history of polling […]

Epic miscalls and landslides unforeseen: The catalog of poll failure

(This essay first appeared at the Conversation online site on 14 October 2020.) The question looms in nearly every U.S. presidential election, even in this year’s race: Could the polls be wrong? If they are, they likely will err in unique fashion. The history of election polling says as much. That history tells of no […]

Recent Posts: Media Myth Alert

Woodward’s latest Trump book prompts myth-telling about Watergate

It was predictable. Inevitable, even. It was all but certain that news accounts and reviews of Rage, Bob Woodward‘s latest book about Donald Trump and his presidency, would credulously recite the hardy media myth that Woodward’s Watergate reporting brought down Richard Nixon’s corrupt presidency. Sure enough, news outlets in the United States and abroad summoned […]

Cronkite did all that? The anchorman, the president, and the Vietnam War

The endless appeal of media-driven myths rests largely in affirming that journalists are powerful actors whose work and words can exert great and decisive effects on war, politics, and public policy. This thread runs through all prominent media myths, from William Randolph Hearst’s presumptive vow to “furnish the war” with Spain at the end of […]

Recent Posts: The 1995 Blog

Quote of the 1990s? ‘If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,’ 25 years on

Twenty-five years ago today, in his closing argument at the sensational O.J. Simpson double-murder trial in Los Angeles, lead defense lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran stood before the jurors and urged them to keep this in mind: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Cochran was referring to the prosecution’s case against Simpson and, in particular, […]

Memorable moment in an exceptional year: The Netscape IPO of 1995

The year 1995 was filled with decisive turns and memorable developments; among them, the “Netscape Moment” of 25 years ago. It was an eye-popping moment in an exceptional year. On August 9, 1995, Silicon Valley startup Netscape Communications made its stunning market debut and effectively illuminated the emergent World Wide Web for millions of people […]

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