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Culture & Religion

Public Gutting

Author Janet Malcom’s book discusses the “morally indefensible” career of journalism in an industry which turns guttings into a spectator sport.

“In her infamous first sentence of ‘The Journalist and the Murderer’, Janet Malcolm swings for the fences and proclaims that ‘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.’ She means that journalists use their human subjects and then dispose of them; that we con them in person by ‘preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness’–it occurs to me to note that however bleak print’s future seems, journalism will at least never run out of material–before gutting them in print. This was a provocative thought in 1990, in those years of innocence before the Internet turned the guttings into a spectator sport,” writes The New Republic.


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