Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism

Did the Washington Post bring down Richard Nixon by reporting on the Watergate scandal? Did a cryptic remark by Walter Cronkite effectively end the Vietnam War? Did William Randolph Hearst vow to “furnish the war” in the 1898 conflict with Spain? In Getting It Wrong, W. Joseph Campbell addresses and dismantles these and other prominent media-driven myths—stories about or by the news media that are widely believed but which, on close examination, prove apocryphal. In a fascinating exploration of these and other cases—including the supposedly outstanding coverage of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina—Campbell describes how myths like these can feed stereotypes, deflect blame from policymakers, and overstate the power and influence of the news media.

About the Author

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (July 12, 2010)



From the Inside Flap

Amazon Review
If I gave any credence to the press prior to reading this book, it’s completely gone now. The Jessica Lynch and Katrina stories alone were enough to make me scream, and I have a degree in Journalism. Not too long after reading this book, I watched ESPN’s 30:30 documentary on Michael Jordan playing minor league baseball. I distinctly remember, at the time he was doing that, all I read and heard was what a mistake for him to be doing this and what a failure he was at it. Turns out all of that was untrue. Jordan applied the very same work ethic to baseball that he had applied to basketball and was actually succeeding in minor league baseball at the age of 31. The most disturbing thing about the documentary came when a Sports Illustrated writer said his story, explaining how much Jordan had improved as a ball player and why he may have what it takes to actually play in the Big Leagues was killed by Sports Illustrated because the press overall, wanted Jordan back in basketball. And if you recall, the story we were handed when he came back to Basketball was that he missed the game and that he had finally given up his stupid dream to play baseball. Turns out that wasn’t true either. He came back to basketball because of the baseball strike putting him in a position where he would have to cross a picket line and he was not willing to do that. This book is filled with well known, historical events I’d read about and came to believe as fact, when in fact they were either fabricated out of thin air or greatly embellished. It’s a book worth reading.

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