Salman Rushdie Talks Newspapers

By Hernandez, Debra Gersh | Editor & Publisher, May 18, 1996 | Go to article overview

Salman Rushdie Talks Newspapers


Hernandez, Debra Gersh, Editor & Publisher


While critics of the press would readily agree that news and fiction writing have a lot in common, author Salman Rushdie means it as a compliment.

The "ultimate goal," he said, "of both factual and fictional writing is the truth, attitude, spin. We read not for raw data ... but to get a 'take' on the news that we like.

"Now that the broadcasting media fulfill the function of being first with the news, newspapers, like novels, have entered the realm of the imagination. They both provide versions of the world," Rushdie told those gathered for the annual American Society of Newspaper Editors convention in Washington.

"It is for the novelist to create, communicate and sustain over time a personal and coherent vision of the world that entertains, interests, stimulates, provokes and nourishes its readers," Rushdie continued.

"It is for the newspaper editor to do very much the same thing with the pages at his disposal. In that specialized sense - and let me emphasize that I mean this as a compliment - we are all in the fiction business now," he said, adding that, "Sometimes, of course, the news in newspapers seems fictive in a less complimentary sense."

The British royal family, for example, "have had their characters invented for them by the British press," Rushdie said.

"And such is the power of the fiction that the flesh-and-blood royals have become more and more like their print personae, unable to escape the fiction of their imaginary fives."

Rushdie was critical of what he called the aptly,, named profile reporting, which he said, like one's profile, is "flat and two dimensional."

Yet the images created in these curious texts - often with their subjects' collusion - are extraordinarily potent," he explained. "It can be next to impossible for the actual person to alter, through his own words and deeds, the impressions they create. And, thanks to the mighty, clippings file, they are also self-perpetuating."

Speaking from his own experience, Rushdie said being profiled "is perhaps closest to what it must feel like to be used as a writer's raw material, what it must feel like to be turned into a fictional character, to have one's feelings and actions, one's relationships and vicissitudes, transformed by, writing into something subtly, or unsubtly, different - to see ourselves mutated into someone we do not recognize."

Pointing to privacy, laws in Britain and France, Rushdie said he continues "to be against laws that curtail the investigative freedoms of the press."

"But, speaking as someone who has had the uncommon experience of becoming, for a time, a hot news story ... it would be dishonest to deny that when my family and I have been the target of press intrusions and distortions, those principles have been sorelv strained.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Salman Rushdie Talks Newspapers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.