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

What polling could use now

(This essay originally was posted at the Conversation online site on 10 November 2020.) Polling is hardly a flamboyant field that attracts a lot of colorful characters. It is a rather reserved profession that now finds itself under siege in the aftermath of yet another polling surprise in a national election. The field is buffeted […]

Yet another polling surprise

(This essay originally was posted at the Conversation online site on 4 November 2020.) Election polling is facing yet another reckoning following its uneven-at-best performance in this year’s voting. Although the outcome in the 2020 presidential race remained uncertain the next day, it was evident that polls faltered, overall, in providing Americans with clear indications […]

Why we are so enamored with pre-election polls

(This essay originally was posted 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 […]

Recent Posts: Media Myth Alert

The shame of the press

Eighty-two years ago, the front pages of American newspapers told of panic and hysteria which, they said, had swept the country the night before, during, and immediately after a radio dramatization of The War of the Worlds. The program starred and was directed by 23-year-old Orson Welles who made clever use of simulated news bulletins […]

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 […]

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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