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.
Covers of some of Campbell’s books
Recent Posts: Commentary: W. Joseph Campbell
This is an abbreviated version of a commentary originally posted at The Hill; the commentary was drawn from Lost in a Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections. It’s axiomatic that pre-election polls set the narrative for U.S. presidential campaigns. … polls are central to shaping conventional wisdom about the competitiveness of the races. But […]
Lost in a Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections is the story of polling flops, epic upsets, unforeseen landslides, and exit poll fiascoes in American presidential elections. It is now out from University of California Press. Here are FAQs about Lost in a Gallup, the seventh solo-authored book by W. Joseph Campbell. Q: Clever […]
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 […]
Recent Posts: Media Myth Alert
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 […]
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
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 […]
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 […]