Detecting Bull: How to Identify Bias and Junk Journalism in Print, Broadcast and on the Wild Web





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John H. McManus lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. A former journalist, professor and media critic, he now writes and speaks about journalism and its relationship to democracy. His research has been published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Communication Research, Communication Theory, Journalism, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Columbia Journalism Review, and Nieman Reports. His first book about news, Market-Driven Journalism: Let the Citizen Beware? won the 1994 Research Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. The first edition of Detecting Bull won the same award in 2009.


In 2000, he founded Grade the News, an online consumer report on the most popular newspapers and newscasts in the Bay Area. The project scientifically sampled thousands of stories to evaluate local news media from A to F on seven yardsticks of journalism quality derived from the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Funded by the Ford, Gerbode and Knight foundations, Grade the News received local and national awards: An award for Excellence in Journalism in 2004 from the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists; the Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award from the Cultural and Critical Studies Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2006. In the same year, a citation from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University for uncovering ethical lapses of Bay Area news media. In 2009, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University awarded Grade the News its First Amendment Award. Michael Stoll, now the executive editor and publisher of the San Francisco Public Press was associate director of the project. Grade the News' analyses can be found at John attended Holy Cross College for his BA, the University of Michigan for an M.A. and Stanford University for his Ph.D.