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Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism Paperback – July 12, 2010
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"Dr. Campbell has done meticulous research that examines ten media myths in context. This book rightfully calls us to rethink some significant errors that have become a part of our history and our collective memories. It is just downright interesting reading."Wallace B. Eberhard, recipient of the American Journalism Historians Association Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement
Top customer reviews
Page 190 has a remarkable insight into the conformity of opinion among professional journalists. The book also highlights the remarkable self-satisfaction of a tame media.
The most recent case examined was the media's complete botch of Hurricane Katrina coverage. Since publication, there have been still more widespread media flops: the BP Horizon spill, the unjustified Trayvon/Michael Brown/Tamir Rice vigils, the pervasive silence on Obama administration scandals, the lack of interest in Deapartment of the Interior and EPA-caused disasters in the American West, the non-reporting of Middle East atrocities against Christians and Jews, the "religion of peace" mantra.
Still, this is a good start. Buy it.
Campbell's brilliant research. I read it in three nights and could not put it down.
Rev. Ron Hooker, Yale Graduate
Today I read nothing, hear nothing, see nothing from any news outlet that I am not skeptical of.
Objectivity in journalism, if it ever existed, is certainly rare today and many so-called journalists are quite skilled at mixing their personal opinions or editorial outlooks into what are supposedly news stories.
W. Joseph Campbell , a Professor at American University, takes apart "ten of the greatest misreported stories in American journalism" - and he does it wonderfully well.
This is not a dull book. Professor Campbell has a reasonably lively style for an academic.
He has chosen ten stories that have taken on mythical dimensions:
1. Press mogul William Randolph Hearst allegedly fomenting the Spanish-American War.
2. The panic engendered by Orson Welles' "War Of The Worlds" radio broadcast.
3. Murrow and McCarthy
4. The Bay Of Pigs
5. Walter Cronkite on the Vietnam War
6. Bra burning at Atlantic City.
7. Watergate and Woodward/Bernstein.
9. Creating the Jessica Lynch myth
10. Hurricane Katrina.
Using contemporaneous accounts, Campbell provides a solid basis for his claim that the underlying story was turned into a myth by the media - and, usually, without ever admitting or acknowledging it.
His chapter on the falsity of the Edward R. Murrow myth is particularly good. He demonstrates that Murrow himself and his producer Fred Friendly never claimed that they were the instigators of the downfall of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, whose reputation was already quite a way down the slope. In fact, as Campbell points out, Murrow was relatively late to the McCarthy bashing party. Campbell does an excellent job of showing how media myths become canonical truth once the entertainment industry gets hold of them as they did in "Good Night And Good Luck".
He also examines how the media is slow to admit its errors, if it ever does.
Anyone who consumes news will find this book worthwhile. Campbell has done a service to the public, if not journalism itself.
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