The Journalist and the Murderer (Vintage) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $2.90 (19%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it Monday, April 28? Order within and choose Two-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by All Size Books
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Excellent Condition! Very clean pages, cover, and tight binding!! Fast Amazon Shipping! Tracking # with every order! Satisfaction Guaranteed!
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

The Journalist and the Murderer Paperback


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.10
$7.90 $2.29
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Frequently Bought Together

The Journalist and the Murderer + In Cold Blood
Price for both: $20.58

Buy the selected items together
  • In Cold Blood $8.48

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 31, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679731830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679731832
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a work that sparked controversy when it first appeared in the New Yorker, Malcolm suggests that journalist Joe McGinniss may have betrayed convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald in McGinniss's bestselling book Fatal Vision.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

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"
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
9
4 star
7
3 star
4
2 star
0
1 star
6
See all 26 customer reviews
Very well researched and written .
A. Hoffman
It is a book that clearly portrays the relationship between a journalist and a subject.
Jamie Stellar
To me, those concepts are not part of the points this book is making.
Erika Taylor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 78 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
In 1970, a respected army physician named Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald claimed that four strangers broke into his home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and killed his wife and two daughters. Although an army tribunal tried Dr. MacDonald and cleared him, years later the case was reopened. This time, MacDonald was convicted and sent to prison. Janet Malcolm does not retry the MacDonald case in her book, "The Journalist and the Murderer." Rather, she examines the issues behind a lawsuit that MacDonald brought in 1984 against his supposed friend, Joe McGinnis, author of "Fatal Vision." Joe McGinniss posed as an ally of Jeffrey MacDonald for years. McGinnis lived with MacDonald for a while and even joined his defense team. McGinniss sent MacDonald sympathetic letters in support of his cause. In these letters, he frequently expressed his support for MacDonald.

It was only after "Fatal Vision" was published that MacDonald discovered the truth. McGinniss did not believe in MacDonald's innocence; on the contrary, he portrays MacDonald as a psychopathic murderer. The author posed as a friend for the sole purpose of keeping MacDonald in the dark so that McGinniss would continue to have access to his subject. "Fatal Vision" became a huge bestseller and eventually became a miniseries. Malcolm's book, written in 1990, takes on added significance in 2003, when the ethics of journalists are under fire. Some have been accused of plagiarizing and fabricating stories. The public is beginning to recongnize that reporters are fallible and suffer from the same pressures, ambitions, and psychological disorders as other ordinary mortals.

This is not merely a condemnation of McGinniss's behavior towards MacDonald.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
In The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm examines the transactional relationship between a journalist and her subject, especially the dynamic of what happens during an interview. (Why do so many people repeatedly and voluntarily blabber stupidly to the media? Why is it so difficult to refuse a microphone?) And what moral obligation does a journalist have to her subject?
Malcolm answers these questions (as much as she's able to) in the context of a murder trail that journalist Joe McGinniss wrote about, after being given unlimited access to accused murderer Jeffrey MacDonald and his defense team. McGinniss, originally sympathetic to MacDonald, comes to believe that he is guilty of the murder (the jury agreed), but does not reveal his change of heart to MacDonald, in order to maintain access to him. Once McGinniss's book, Fatal Vision, is published, MacDonald is horrified by the portrait presented to him and sues McGinniss for fraud.
Malcolm raises issues that I, a constant reader of journalism, had never considered. Her book gave me insight into what a writer must do to get the story. She's made me a less naïve reader. Those long articles in The New Yorker will never seem the same.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Stamper VINE VOICE on May 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joe McGinniss put himself on the map writing the classic 1969 book, THE SELLING OF A PRESIDENT. That book detailed how Richard Nixon was sold to the public like any other consumer product. It's worth reading if you can find a copy. The Nixon book was such a hit and McGinniss was so young he couldn't find material good enough to follow it up and his next few books were mediocre.

Determined to find another worthy subject, he tackled the case of Dr. Jeffrey McDonald, a man accused of killing his wife and children. That story became the bestselling FATAL VISION and this book, THE JOURNALIST AND THE MURDERER, chronicles the techniques that McGinniss used to get close to McDonald, and how he pretended to support McDonald through the years of legal proceedings although he always thought him to be guilty and wanted a guilty verdict for a better book. McGinniss' technique led to unfettered access to legal files, evidence, but most importantly access to McDonald. They'd drink together, strategize together and were pals during the experience.

The central question is how far can a journalist go to get the story? Although a jury found McDonald guilty of murder, a later jury found in favor of McDonald in his suit against McGuinniss because they felt that his techniques were so underhanded and self-serving that even a murderer deserved better. The book shows the divide between the win-at-any-cost media and the public that grows weary of the techniques used against people to create news. Does the public have the right to know enough that journalists can lie to subjects to bring the story to press?

This short book makes you question a number of journalistic techniques and it doesn't hurt either that McDonald has strong supporters and could possibly be innocent of the murders, at least in the context of this book.
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am a journalism major, and did read this for a journalism class. Setting all that aside, I did find it to be a very interesting, and would recommend it to anyone who has ever had an interest in journalism or the interview process. Ms. Malcolm does take a neutral stance in the MacDonald's murder conviction, which is disconcerning given the gruesomeness of the crime and its role in the book. But that is really minor, because the work succeeds as a whole.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa5e86eac)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?