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The Journalist And The Murderer

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James, Caryn (March 27, 1994). "The Importance of Being Biased". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved June 18, 2021. In the Freud Archives. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0394538692. Reissued in 2002 with an afterword by Janet Malcolm by New York Review Books. ISBN 9781590170274

Janet Malcolm, author of The Journalist and the Murderer

The concept of the psychopath is, in fact, an admission of failure to solve the mystery of evil—it is merely a restatement of the mystery—and only offers an escape valve for the frustration felt by psychiatrists, social workers, and police officers, who daily encounter its force.”Randolph, Eleanor (August 5, 1989). "New Yorker Libel Suit Dismissed". Washington Post . Retrieved April 10, 2023.

murderer - New Statesman Making a murderer - New Statesman

In Malcolm's view, neither journalist nor subject can avoid the moral impasse that is built into the journalistic situation. When the text first appeared, as a two-part article in The New Yorker, its thesis seemed so radical and its irony so pitiless that journalists across the country reacted as if stung. The experts said it’s all right to tell the man something you don’t believe in, as long as you’re getting more information from him, for the sake of the project. I listened throughout the two and a half hours, astounded that that would be set forth in a courtroom as being the kind of principle that writers or lawyers or juries should be guided by. We cannot do whatever is necessary. We have to do what is right.It is understood—and yet it is also known that subjects do sometimes sue writers, and that they do sometimes leave one writer for another, or abruptly break off the interviews. It is the latter eventuality, with its immediate disastrous effect on his project, that causes the writer the greatest anxiety (a lawsuit can occur only after the project is completed, in some hazy distant future) and impels him toward the devices and disingenuousnesses that came under unprecedentedly close scrutiny in the MacDonald-McGinniss lawsuit. But the writer isn’t alone in his anxiety. Even as he is worriedly striving to keep the subject talking, the subject is worriedly striving to keep the writer listening. The subject is Scheherazade. He lives in fear of being found uninteresting, and many of the strange things that subjects say to writers—things of almost suicidal rashness—they say out of their desperate need to keep the writer’s attention riveted. In the MacDonald-McGinniss encounter—the encounter of a man accused of a terrible crime with a journalist whom he tries to keep listening to his tale of innocence—we have a grotesquely magnified version of the normal journalistic encounter. Even though the crimes to which the normal subject pleads innocent—vanity, hypocrisy, pomposity, inanity, mediocrity —are less serious than those of which MacDonald stood accused, the outcome tends to be the same: as MacDonald’s tale ultimately failed to hold McGinniss—whose attention soon shifted to the rhetorically superior story of the prosecution—so do the majority of stories told to journalists fail of their object. The writer ultimately tires of the subject’s self-serving story, and substitutes a story of his own. The story of subject and writer is the Scheherazade story with a bad ending: in almost no case does the subject manage to, as it were, save himself. Trump defended and brushed aside the findings of his own intelligence agencies, even after it became widely known through media reports that the CIA had concluded with a medium- to high-degree of confidence that Prince Mohammed had approved the murder. Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible'

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