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Interviewing the interviewer

Janet Malcolm once wrote about the duplicitous relationship of journalists to their subjects. Elena Lappin talked to Malcolm, less about her Chekhov book than herself

By Elena Lappin   April 2003

Book: Reading Chekhov Author: Janet Malcolm Price: (Granta, ?13.99)

When journalist Martin Bashir and singer Michael Jackson recently produced two painfully conflicting video versions of their encounter, they inadvertently demonstrated the essence of Janet Malcolm’s argument, first elaborated in her 1990 book ‘The Journalist and the Murderer’. Its opening statement has become famous: “Every journalist who is not too stupid … to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

She wrote about…

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