Natasha Lennard, NYT Freelancer, Chooses OWS Over Her Job

natasha lennard.jpg
Natasha Lennard
Supporting Occupy Wall Street has claimed the job of another journalist. This time it's Natasha Lennard, the New York Times freelancer who was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. She recently appeared on a pro-OWS panel; when the Times caught wind of it, they released a statement effectively dropping her from their roster: "This freelancer, Natasha Lennard, has not been involved in our coverage of Occupy Wall Street in recent days, and we have no plans to use her for future coverage."

Lennard wrote in Salon yesterday that in the end, she doesn't really care.

I am incredibly lucky to have interned and worked for institutions like the New York Times and Politico; the training, exposure and practice that these publications offer are in many ways unparalleled. But it is also with some pride that I have stopped writing for publications that aim for journalistic objectivity.

There is a loose analogy here with how Occupy Wall Street's structure stands at odds with mainstream, electoral politics. Many of those involved in Occupy Wall Street have, with excellent cause, expressed dissatisfaction with representative politics in this country. In response, occupiers have sought new political spaces and interactions; they have taken politics into their own hands.

Similarly, if the mainstream media prides itself on reporting the facts, I have found too many problems with what does or does not get to be a fact -- or what rises to the level of a fact they believe to be worth reporting -- to be part of such a machine. Going forward, I want to take responsibility for my voice and the facts that I choose and relay. I want them to instigate change.

This has happened to other journalists too, like Caitlin E. Curran, who wrote a story for Gawker about how she was fired from her freelance radio gig for holding a sign at an OWS protest. But Lennard's take gets into some big questions about what it means to be objective and whether it's possible -- or desirable.

[] [@_rosiegray]

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The Outlier
The Outlier

There is a weak link in our democracy. So muchdepends upon the citizenry possessing relevant and factual information aboutthe effects of our existing policies as well as reasonable approximations ofthe consequences of legislative proposals. The so-called "fourthestate", also known as the free press, ispretty much free to report the story however they see fit.

This is not to say that the commercialized free press tends to report out-andout-lies, sometimes they do, but promoting an out-and-out lie is hard tosustain. When the lie is finally exposed, credibility is compromised. A muchbetter way to mislead the public is to focus on redherrings and present the story within thecontext of a paradigm that obscures the truth.

A contemporary example of this phenomenon is the way the commercialized freepress is consistently mischaracterizing the Occupy Wall Street movement. Adeceptive narrative that the mainstream media is pitching hard is that OWS is aDemocratic Party alternative to the Tea Party, and whereas the Tea Party isopposing big government, OWS is opposing big money. The truthis that both occupiers and rank-and-file members of the Tea Party are opposedto the corrupting influence of big money on our political process. Anothertruth is that top Democrats as well as top Republicans are recipients ofsizable corporate endowments and are beneficiaries of our system of cronycapitalism.

So why would the commercialized free press deliberately obfuscate these truths?  Readmore »


"Going forward, I want to take responsibility for my voice and the facts that I choose and relay."

I respect that so much because, honestly, I feel the same about journalistic "objectivity" and that's why I have distanced myself from mainstream outlets. She's smart. And cute too!

Ian Wood
Ian Wood

It's that "choosing facts" bit that belies journalistic objectivity. It's a myth. And the more the legacy media outlets claim it isn't, the more ridiculous they look.

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