W. Joseph Campbell is an American writer, educator, historian, media critic, and blogger. He has written six solo-authored books and another, about polling failure in U.S. presidential elections, is due out in summer 2020. The title is Lost in a Gallup, which one pre-publication reviewer called 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.
Covers of some of Campbell’s books
Recent Posts: Commentary: W. Joseph Campbell
This is an abbreviated version of a commentary originally published at The Hill The “Dewey defeats Truman” upset election of 1948 is endlessly fascinating, an enthralling morality tale about the cockiness of pollsters, the credulity of journalists, and the hazards of glide-path campaigning. Pollsters were confident that Thomas E. Dewey would unseat President Harry Truman […]
The venerable Gallup Organization no longer conducts polls of U.S. presidential races. It dropped out after mistakenly estimating that Mitt Romney narrowly led President Barack Obama at the close of the 2012 campaign. Even though Gallup has quit election polling, a reservoir of its reporting remains available online; it’s a useful, even revealing resource about […]
The 1948 presidential campaign is endlessly fascinating, and it’s addressed at chapter length in Lost in a Gallup, my forthcoming book about polling failure in U.S. presidential elections. Lately, I’ve been rereading David McCullough’s account of President Harry S. Truman’s come-from-behind victory in ’48. That chapter is a highlight of McCullough’s hefty, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, […]
Recent Posts: Media Myth Alert
CNN (really) offered not long ago one of the more coherent recent assessments about the unfolding election campaign between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. A commentary by two Democratic analysts argued against prematurely dismissing Trump’s chances of winning reelection, despite the polls of July that overwhelmingly are in Biden’s favor. “It […]
The hoary media myth about Richard Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam is circulating anew, and being presented as if genuine. The tale was invoked yesterday in a Washington Post essay that argued societal rifts and recent civil disorders in contemporary America don’t match those of 1968. “America is polarized today — […]
Recent Posts: The 1995 Blog
O.J. Simpson never testified at his months-long double-murder trial in 1995. But a consistent feature of the absorbing yet often-repellent case was that Simpson was never far from center stage — especially so at key moments in the proceedings, which stretched from late January to early October and ended in his acquittal. One of the […]
Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, Bill Gates sent a lengthy internal memorandum to senior staff at Microsoft Corporation, declaring the internet “a tidal wave” that “changes the rules.” It was a seminal document of the early online era that figured in shaping the digital landscape of the second half of the 1990s and beyond. The memorandum […]