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Friday, March 7, 2014

Debunking the Myth of Kitty Genovese

By Larry Getlen
The New York Post
Originally published February 16, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

But as journalist Kevin Cook details in his new book, “Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America” (W.W. Nor­ton), some of the real thoughtlessness came from a police commissioner who lazily passed a falsehood to a journalist, and a media that fell so deeply in love with a story that it couldn’t be bothered to determine whether it was true.

The account of the murder at the top of this story is accurate, based on Cook’s reporting. Instead of a narrative of apathy, the media could have told instead of the people who tried to help, and of the complex circumstances — many boiling down to a lack not of compassion, but of information — that prevented some ­others from calling for aid.

One could argue that Genovese became a legend not on the day she was killed, but 10 days later, when New York City Police Commissioner Michael “Bull” Murphy had lunch with The New York Times’ new city editor — later to become the paper’s executive ­editor — Abe Rosenthal.
After Rosenthal brought up a case Murphy wished to avoid discussing, the commissioner pivoted to the Genovese case.

“Brother, that Queens story is one for the books. Thirty-eight witnesses,” Murphy said. “I’ve been in this business a long time, but this beats everything.”

The entire story is here.

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