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The Journalist and the Murderer


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About the Author

Janet Malcolm's previous books are Diana and Nikon: Essays on Photography; Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession; In the Freud Archives; The Journalist and the Murderer; The Purloined Clinic: Selected Writings; The Silent Woman: Slyvia Plath and Ted Hughes; and The Crime of Sheila McGough. She lives in New York with her husband, Gardner Botsford.


Every journalist is ``a kind of confidence man . . . gaining . . . trust and betraying . . . without remorse,'' says Malcolm. This is an expanded and reworked version of Malcom's New Yorker essay on the ``pscyhopathology'' of the journalist/subject relationship, sparked by Jeffrey MacDonald's libel suit against Fatal Vision author Joe McGinniss. Even nonjournalists will be fascinated by Malcolm's discussion of the still puzzling MacDonald case; McGinnis's rather two-faced missives to the imprisoned MacDonald; and Joseph Wambaugh's libel trial testimony about journalistic ``untruths.'' In an afterword, Malcolm comments on the heated debate her essay invoked in the journalism community, and concludes that, like it or not, every journalist must, to some degree, tussle with this ethical dilemma. An elegantly written, thought-provoking, and sometimes outrageous essay that should be in every media collection.--Judy Quinn, ``Library Journal''

"It is not with regard to jounralism but with regard to the making of works of art that Malcom's important book gathers its inspiration, its breathtaking rhetorical velocity, and its great truth." -David Rieff, Los Angeles Times

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