An interview with an iconoclastic scholar of the Kitty Genovese case and the media myths that surround it.
The Witnesses That Didn't (Transcript)
The bottom line is that 38 New Yorkers did not watch the murder of a woman while doing nothing to help her.
Joseph De May has an interesting take on why the media was so quick to create and promote the bystander myth.
The Kitty Genovese murder happened four months after the assassination of President Kennedy. In the aftermath of John Kennedy’s assassination, there was a school of thought that said we all killed President Kennedy. Now, four months later, Kitty Genovese is killed, not by a man whose psyche and life experience is not in any way reflective of ordinary Americans. These were 38 respectable law-abiding citizens. These – that was us. And I think it was a tremendous blow to the American psyche to think that such a thing could happen here, anywhere here. I think that that’s what gave this story legs.