The Statesman’s review discusses in some detail the myths about the War of the Worlds radio broadcast in October 1938, which supposedly set off nationwide panic and mass hysteria, and about the Watergate scandal of 1972-74 which brought down Richard Nixon’s corrupt presidency.
The reviewer was Bob Kustra, president of Boise State University and the engaging host of the Reader’s Corner, a weekly radio program about books and their authors. I was interviewed on Kustra’s show last month.
“While Campbell acknowledges that most people believe two young and ambitious Washington Post reporters brought down a corrupt president, he deftly shows how journalism’s contribution to Nixon’s fall was modest at best.
“The president’s decline, he explains, was the consequence of his criminal conduct, which was exposed in the convergence of many forces. But it’s far easier to focus on two heroic journalists, says Campbell, than it is to grapple with the complexities of the Watergate scandal.
“Therein,” Kustra adds, “lies one of the reasons we are so likely to believe media myths — they offer simplistic answers to complex issues. They also lead us to believe the news media are very powerful and sometimes even dangerous forces in society.”
“Doing so offers important lessons on being discerning consumers of what we read and hear in the news.”
Recent and related:
- Imprecise, overwrought Watergate analogies emerge in Murdoch scandal
- BBC calls Hearst vow apocryphal, quotes it anyway
- WaPo ‘broke the Watergate scandal’? No way
- A silly season stew: Serving up the Watergate myth
- Media history with Olbermann: Wrong and wrong
- The hero-journalist myth of Watergate
- ‘Getting It Wrong’ launched at Newseum
- ‘Getting It Wrong’ at ‘Reader’s Corner’ tonight
- ‘Getting It Wrong’ goes Majic
- ‘Getting It Wrong’ goes on WTIC talk radio
- ‘Getting It Wrong’ goes on Q-and-A
- Mythbusting at the Smithsonian
- ‘Persuasive and entertaining’: WSJ reviews ‘Getting It Wrong’