Thursday, November 24, 2016

Masha Gessen on Putin and Trump

Masha Gessen is a journalist who has specialized in writing about Russia and Vladimir Putin. She has a very interesting podcast (brought to my attention by S.B), which can be found here:

 This podcast contains this little gem:

"I'm going to borrow a metaphor from Garry Kasparov, the chess champion, who when he first quit chess and went into politics, he was explaining to people that going up against Putin was like playing chess against somebody who keeps knocking the figures off the board. It's like he's not playing chess.
I think that what the papers failed to do was write the big story of the fact that Donald Trump wasn't playing chess. It's like the endless fact checking was a little bit like reporting on a chess match by saying, "Okay, well, she opened E2 to E4 and he knocked all the figures off the chess board. He knocked the bishop off the chess board and he knocked the knight off the chess board." Well, just say it! Just say he was not playing chess!
I think that it would have been a story about how Donald Trump was running for autocrat. I think at that point there should have been a big journalistic break with American exceptionalism and that's where we would have gone to other countries to look at what has happened to other countries when politicians have run in democratic elections for autocrat. It's happened many times and it's succeeded many times."

S.B. also writes: 
"Gessen had an earlier short essay in the NY Review that I also found very powerful:
I think she moved back to the US recently -- before that she was one of those journalists who was surely on Putin's hitlist. Scary stuff."

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