The Journalist and the Murderer Summary & Study Guide

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In The Journalist and the Murderer (originally published almost in its entirety in the New Yorker), Malcolm explores the relationship between the journalist and the subject. Declaring that this relationship is always rife with seduction and betrayal, Malcolm focuses her argument around the example of MacDonald and McGinniss. MacDonald was the former Green Beret doctor convicted of murdering his wife and two young children. McGinniss was the writer who gained exclusive access to MacDonald and his lawyers, and, while professing to be a friend and supporter of MacDonald, wrote and published Fatal Vision, a nonfiction book that portrayed the doctor as a pathological liar and cold-blooded killer. MacDonald sued McGinniss for fraud and breach of contract.

McGinniss was already an award-winning non-fiction writer when he first met MacDonald in 1979. MacDonald's wife and children had been murdered in 1970, he alleged, by a group of hippies who broke into the...

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This section contains 584 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Journalist and the Murderer Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
The Journalist and the Murderer from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.