Diagnosing from a Distance: Debates over Libel Law, Media, and Psychiatric Ethics from Barry Goldwater to Donald Trump

Diagnosing from a Distance: Debates over Libel Law, Media, and Psychiatric Ethics from Barry Goldwater to Donald Trump

by John Martin-Joy


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Ever since the rise of Adolf Hitler, mental health professionals have sought to use their knowledge of human psychology to understand - and intervene in - political developments. From Barry Goldwater to Donald Trump, psychiatrists have commented, sometimes brashly, on public figures' mental health. But is the practice ethical? While the American Psychiatric Association prohibits psychiatric comment on public figures under its 'Goldwater Rule', others disagree. Diagnosing from a Distance is the first in-depth exploration of this controversy. Making extensive use of archival sources and original interviews, John Martin-Joy reconstructs the historical debates between psychiatrists, journalists, and politicians in an era when libel law and professional standards have undergone dramatic change. Charting the Goldwater Rule's crucial role in the current furor over Trump's fitness for office, Martin-Joy assesses the Rule's impact and offers a more liberal alternative. This remarkable book will change the way we think about psychiatric ethics and public life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108707985
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/19/2020
Pages: 220
Sales rank: 983,943
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

John Martin-Joy, M.D., is a psychiatrist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a part-time lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Introduction. An ethical dilemma; 1. Psychoanalysis, media, and politics from the rise of Hitler to the 1950s; Part I. Diagnosis from a Distance and Libel Law in the 1960s: Goldwater v. Ginzburg: 2. Ralph Ginzburg: provocateur; 3. 'To remove this precedent': Barry Goldwater sues for libel; 4. Ginzburg, Goldwater, and the Supreme Court; Part II. Professionalization and the Rise of the Goldwater Rule; 5. 'To protect public figures': the APA and the Goldwater Rule; 6. The CIA and the White House: adventures in assessment; 7. Furor: the debate over Donald Trump; Conclusion. On history, ethics, and pluralism; Appendix. The Goldwater Rule in 1973 and today; Acknowledgments; Notes; Works cited; Index.

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