Inside Their Heads

Friday, April 24, 2009


This week law enforcement arrested a medical student accused of being the so-called "Craigslist Killer." Never mind that details were scant, morning television was quick to bring in profiling experts to fill us in on everything going on inside the suspect's head. So we called in an expert of our own.

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Comments [13]

James Ritzenbaum

You have sullied my good name, you knaves of the public airwaves.


J Ritzenbaum, PhD

Apr. 30 2009 11:56 AM
M Ritzenhein from Michigan

very not funny.

Apr. 30 2009 08:15 AM
william ragette from nyc/wv

creating James Ritzenbaum would have been funny if it was a bit more obvious. I'm not the only one who was 'tricked'.

You claim it was meant as parody, but what did you actually say to indicate that this was bullshit???
It makes me think that you could be bullshitting me anytime and i'll not know what to believe.

I was really looking forward reading something by James Ritzenbaum, as i thought that what he was saying was hilariously insightful.

you have enough interesting things to report without making shit up
if this was aired on april 1, that would have been excusable

Apr. 28 2009 09:21 PM
lisa from Cambridge, MA

Thanks Mike!
... I only caught the last bit of the interview so my frame of reference was rather compromised. Thanks for straightening that out for me. Now that I know it was okay to laugh, I congratulate your creative and subtle commentary on media experts.

While I am now laughing, in hind-site, at the clever piece (as well as at myself) and appreciate the validity of satire, it also brings up a second topic for consideration, which is to caution OTM listeners against the many media whores and Monday morning quarterbacks from discrediting the actual scholars who spend many earnest years studying human behavior at accredited universities.

While most psychological concentrations are not a scientific nor predictive endeavor, psychological praxis do make significant and recognized contributions in the fields of "hard" science, medicine, artificial intelligence (i.e, decision making systems) and the law.

The American jury system is based on the notion of a panel of lay-people who make moral decisions about justice and not a mathematical or scientific processes of determining an absolute truth.

That said, I do enjoy NPR/OTM programing and must be more careful to hear the whole story before making assumptions about the sincerity of a segment : - )

Apr. 28 2009 11:01 AM
Jack from Chicago

How many women had to be abused and murdered so OTM could get off this lame piece? I thought the "torture" segment was funnier.

Apr. 27 2009 10:56 PM
Mike Vuolo, OTM Producer from New York, NY


You won't find a reference to James Ritzenbaum or his books or "forensic media psychology" because, well, we made it up. The segment was intended as a parody.

Apr. 27 2009 04:23 PM
lisa from Cambridge, MA

re: comments made by GDBLOOM, I am also unable to find any reference to the expert JAMES RITZENBAUM, that NPR presents as their own. I also could not find any information regarding the publisher or either of the two books mentioned in the interview.

Could the NPR "we" (as in the above statement ".. we called in an expert of our own.)" please provide any information (contact, links to publications or professional associations) to your expert? Also, what exactly is a Forensic Media Psychologist and how does on become qualified to hold this title? Is JAMES RITZENBAUM (or is it RITTENBAUM?) a PhD and if so, from where does one get a degree in Forensic Media Psychology and to what accredited, professional organizations does he belong?

I have a sincere interest in the academic affiliations and publications related to the field of forensic media psychology. Any information that could be provided would be much appreciated.

Apr. 27 2009 03:34 PM
sarah beddall

The perfect example of the media "lapdog". So many news broadcasters were attaking this story with very little information. They were bringing in professionals to give a psychologic profile to satisfy the public. I also think it got a lot of early attention because this caucasian male medical student does not fit the criminal prodfile American's have been taught. It was out of the ordinary and grabbed attention. The coverage of these crimes has been so biased that at this point if someone were to argue what we have heard, they would not be heard. It was sad to see trusted anchors swaying interviewee's to permantly stain this case. None of us know enough to make an informed decision. To be honest, I don't need to make an informed decision. I will leave that up to the people in charge...I'm not on the jury.

Apr. 27 2009 01:04 AM

This piece was great! The reenactment of the news people's exchanges with "experts" was spot on. I couldn't stop laughing. This made my day.

Apr. 26 2009 11:28 AM
GDBLOOM from medford, OR

Terrific piece. Very interesting interviewee. Genuinely good points presented in a compelling and amusing voice, that so impressed me that I went in search of his soon-to-be-published book. It apparently does not exist. Noe the earlier title cited. Nor the author. Nor the publisher.

Shame the author, publisher and titles referred to do not exist. OTM fooled? Of cpurse, I could well have lost all research skills accumulated over decades; or your expert on faux media "experts" is a big faux-er.

Great, guys--irony deafness is quite unbecoming in a media watchdog.

Apr. 26 2009 07:00 AM
chuck thompson from Anchorage AK

Talk about Faux News!

I can't think of a better way to illustrate the folly and arrogance of self-appointed empty-headed "experts" than to satirize that folly.

What a great piece.
I love it when you guys stray, um, 'outside the box' . . .

. . . so long, that is, as there is no singing (I'm thinking last December's "Night and Day" here) involved.

Apr. 25 2009 10:43 PM
Matthew Webb from 20 miles south of Washington D.C.

I liked it! I wish the piece had been longer....

Apr. 25 2009 09:28 AM
Jon88 from NYC

That was exceptional. So glad you didn't hold off on airing it for another 49 weeks.

Apr. 24 2009 04:49 PM

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