The Power of the Pen

24 Feb

I wrote this post in May of 2012 after reading an article in the New York Times. Seems fitting since the Times was just barred from a White House press conference. Chilling…

Jilanne Hoffmann

I love the quote mentioned in today’s New York Times (5/14/2012), regarding a march instigated by a group of Russian writers just wanting to take a protest stroll (against Putin’s crackdown on dissent) through central Moscow without being harassed, beaten, arrested, etc. :

“Russian history is full of confrontations between leaders and writers, whom Stalin once described as ‘engineers of the soul.'”

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20 Responses to “The Power of the Pen”

  1. Margarita February 24, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

    I say since we know the White House presents alternative facts, these news organizations are now free to go where the real facts are and report on them. 😉 xoM

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 24, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

      I think that a free press should go anywhere there’s a story that needs to be told. Lots of things need to have a little light shed on them.

      • Margarita February 25, 2017 at 5:44 am #

        I agree. At this time, we’re dealing with someone who seeks and thrives on attention. Perhaps shedding a brighter light on what effects the actions taken from the are on the country as a whole we could actually get a clearer picture of what’s Truth and what’s just bs. 😉 xoM

  2. FictionFan February 25, 2017 at 4:41 am #

    I’m currently reading Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution – a strictly biased account, as you might imagine. He casually tosses in a reference to the importance of suppressing critical press if you want to create a successful dictatorship. Sounds like Mr Trump may have been getting advice from his pals in the Kremlin…

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 25, 2017 at 9:34 am #

      I think Bannon has their entire playbook and is calling the shots.

  3. Lady Fancifull February 26, 2017 at 3:07 am #

    Some of our papers, or some writers doing ‘Opinion pieces’ are suggesting (and it doesn’t seem at all far fetched) that the cherry picking Tricksy Team Trump are engaged in, with the press briefings, and the continual focus by them ON the media are a kind of deliberate smoke-screen to make the media focus on itself as the main headlines – because what TTT are really up to is to try and divert attention away from the even bigger story – links, leaks, and collusion with Russia, and various investigations therein, going far wider than General Flynn. This could be a potato so bursting into flames that no one can hope to douse it, so, TTT has been doing an Operation SmokeScreen.

    Obviously Freedom of the Press is hugely important – not least so that deep skulduggery can be exposed

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 26, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

      I think you are quite right! I want them to find the Russian infiltration all the way through its many tendrils back to the tree!

      • Lady Fancifull February 26, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

        Yep, Yep Yep, and surely THEN all the blinkered ones will at last see this man is unfit, in every way possible, for any kind of public office, let alone the one he has. Not to mention, the various figures who are shoring him up with equal lack of any moral sense about them

  4. Kate Johnston February 26, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    Thank you for this, Jilanne. It’s hard for me to keep up with all the underhandedness going on in the new administration–I’m strung out just from the negative environmental impact! While I have mixed thoughts regarding the press, free speech is a huge part of our foundation, and we must protect it.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 26, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

      Yes, having once worked for an environmental organization started by one of the people who helped write the Clean Water Act, I, am very worried about the environmental impact. So many things appear to be crumbling. But if we start with the skulduggery, we could, perhaps, eliminate many who are trying to undermine our democratic form of government and in the process eliminate those who will do damage to other things we hold dear.

  5. Sheila February 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    It’s scary when people need to be reminded that the press is supposed to be part of the checks and balances system.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann February 27, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

      Something we usually take for granted in this country, isn’t it? There’s a reason we have the longest running democracy under this Constitution. Our founders studied governments and carefully tailored a system that would keep any one person or group from assuming too much power. In addition to those checks and balances, a free press should be guaranteed access to those in power. They should also be expected to write responsibly, to check their facts, and not create false or alternative facts. They should call out those who do. It’s a critical part of our democracy.

  6. ThisKidReviewsBooks March 3, 2017 at 4:28 am #

    I especially agree with your reply to Ms. Sheila. I also believe that we have fallen from pure democracy and capitalism over the decades, and this is just a more visible step down, sadly. 😦

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 3, 2017 at 9:14 am #

      Every citizen should also be participating in a democracy. We should be voting and helping out in the communities in which they live. We should be kind and empathetic. I could go on and on. I do think that the amazing youth of our country, people like you, Erik, can help change its trajectory.

  7. Ste J March 3, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    The whole thing is a crazy mess, I suppose the NYT can make anything up given that alternative news is now a thing. I’d take that job on!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 3, 2017 at 9:17 am #

      I’m not certain that fighting alt facts with alt facts is the right way to go. As Michelle Obama said, “They go low, we go high.” We need truth or we spiral into a very dark place. Truth-seeking, investigative journalists are now needed more than ever.

      • Jilanne Hoffmann March 3, 2017 at 9:18 am #

        However, satire does indeed hold an honored seat at the table when it comes to politics.

      • Ste J March 4, 2017 at 2:38 am #

        I wonder how many of the journalists are actually equipped for that as investigative journalism has been given a backseat to lurid headlines and such. It is time news was news again.

        • Jilanne Hoffmann March 4, 2017 at 9:54 am #

          There’s a strong investigative journalism community in the U.S. Part of the issue has the been the decline in subscriptions to real newspapers. They’ve gutted their journalism staff in response. We, as a country, have been putting our money in the wrong places. I can’t tell you the number of people I know who read the NYTimes, Washington Post, The Guardian, etc. but don’t want to pay for it. If you want to restore a bit of your faith in our media, check out the Center for Public Integrity here:

        • Ste J March 5, 2017 at 8:28 am #

          Thanks for the link , news does seem to be free these days, although the quality of said news can be questionable. The Guardian UK is haemorrhaging money thanks to ill advised forays into online papers and the excesses of its previous editors. It will be interesting to see where that goes.

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