Member since Jun 15, 2010

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Re: “Wilbert Rideau reads In the Place of Justice

Do journalists reviewing books have a responsibility to (1) read the books they review, (2) and, if so, report significant factual errors in the books, and (3) to truly analyze what the book author says in relation to fact and experience?

Wilbert Rideau, the famed prison journalist, recently published his memoir, In The Place of Justice (Random House 2010). The memoir is littered with serious factual errors and factual contradictions.

The memoir has been reviewed by The New York Times, Associated Press, and Rideau has been featured on CBS’ Sunday Morning, NPR’s Fresh Air, and the Tom Joyner Morning Show to promote the memoir.
Not one journalist has either recognized the factual errors/contradictions or elected to report about them if they did.

I have recorded these factual errors and factual contradictions at – they are reported here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

The Rideau memoir raises serious ethical concerns for the nation’s media. The New York Times and other national media outlets devoted a great of coverage to transform Rideau from a convicted murderer into a celebrated convict editor during his incarceration in the Louisiana prison system. The famed prison journalist is now a free “journalist” who has published his prison memoir with a $75,000 grant from The Open Society Institute of the George Soros Foundation as a “visionary” in criminal justice. Ted Koppel endorsed In The Place of Justice as an “extraordinary book.” But in the face of so many blatant errors and misrepresentations, is the memoir truly “extraordinary?” And Is Wilbert Rideau really the “visionary” in criminal justice The Open Society Institute said he is?

Media publications should, I believe, be aware of these questions about Rideau’s memoir. My wife and I initially created the WilbertRideau-RealStory website to defend ourselves from the false and inaccurate “thrashing” Rideau subjected us to in his memoir. But having read and dissected the memoir in ways that “free world” journalist cannot, I have raised ethical issues about the memoir that should be in the public forum and subject to free debate. The issue is whether the national media are giving In The Place of Justice a “free pass” because they are the ones who created “the famed prison journalist.” In any event, the public should at least be aware of the ethical issues surrounding Wilbert Rideau’s memoir.

Posted by sinclair on 06/15/2010 at 4:46 AM

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