12 Jan Masha Gessen on Trump, Putin and the Media
Penn Today covers a December talk Masha Gessen, the 2017 National Book Award winner in non-fiction, gave at The Center:
Hosted by the Annenberg School for Communication’s new Center for Media at Risk, Gessen, in the midst of her latest book tour, discussed Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom she’s outspokenly critiqued, and his similarities to and differences from President Donald Trump.
She also intertwined, using her firsthand experience, what she believes is the biggest risk to media today. Interestingly, she said, it’s a lack of imagination.
“We couldn’t imagine [Trump as] a serious candidate, we couldn’t imagine him winning even when the polls were telling us that it might happen,” Gessen explained. But this sort of thing, she added, “doesn’t just happen with Trump, with presidential campaigns. I think we have to watch out for how it happens in all sorts of other areas.”
Her call, she said, “would be oddly not so much to fight fake news and disinformation, as to exercise imagination and exercise imagination better, and more, and most important, rigorously. Actually be intentional about being imaginative.”