Getting It Wrong

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-07-12
  • Publisher: Univ of California Pr

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Did theWashington Postbring 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? InGetting 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 supposed nationwide panic set off by Orson Welles's 1938 radio adaptation ofThe War of the Worlds, the role played by Edward R. Murrow in 1954 in ending Senator Joseph McCarthy's reign of terror, and 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. In setting the historical record straight, this lively and provocative book also situates media power and influence in a clearer and more coherent context.

Author Biography

W. Joseph Campbell is Professor in the School of Communication at American University. He is the author of four other books, including Yellow Journalism: Puncturing the Myths, Defining the Legacies and The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897 and the Clash of Paradigm.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
"I'll Furnish the War": The Making of a Media Mythp. 9
Fright beyond Measure? The Myth of The War of the Worldsp. 26
Murrow vs. McCarthy: Timing Makes the Mythp. 45
The Bay of Pigs-New York Times Suppression Mythp. 68
Debunking the "Cronkite Moment"p. 85
The Nuanced Myth: Bra Burning at Atlantic Cityp. 101
It's All about the Media: Watergate's Heroic-Journalist Mythp. 115
The "Fantasy Panic": The News Media and the Crack-Baby Mythp. 130
"She Was Fighting to the Death": Mythmaking in Iraqp. 144
Hurricane Katrina and the Myth of Superlative Reportingp. 163
Conclusionp. 185
Notesp. 193
Select Bibliographyp. 249
Indexp. 257
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