The Journalist and the Murderer

Recommended by Lorraine Adams, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #66 in Journalism

In two previous books, Janet Malcolm explored the hidden sides of, respectively, institutional psychoanalysis and Freudian biography. In this book, she examines the psychopathology of journalism. Using a strange and unprecedented lawsuit as her larger-than-life example -- the lawsuit of Jeffrey MacDonald, a convicted murderer, against Joe McGinniss, the author of Fatal Vision, a book about the crime -- she delves into the always uneasy, sometimes tragic relationship that exists between journalist and subject. In Malcolm's view, neither journalist nor subject can avoid the moral impasse that... more

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Lorraine Adams This is Janet Malcolm’s account of the writing of Joe McGinniss’s non-fiction book, Fatal Vision. Basically, Fatal Vision was written using the immersion technique of spending a great deal of time with the subject to get to the ‘truth’ of the subject. There is a bias in our culture towards the non-fiction dramatic narrative, as we think it is closer to the truth than fiction because the books overtly make those claims. But we know, of course, to make non-fiction ‘read like a novel’ that certain realities have to be massaged and Malcolm picks apart the choices that McGinniss made to do this in... (Source)

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