A newly-discovered video–filmed by Occupy Wall Street supporters themselves–reveals that New York Times reporter Natasha Lennard is not merely covering the protests, but is also apparently taking part in planning and executing them.
In the video, Lennard is seen participating as a featured speaker in a discussion among anarchists, communists, and other radicals as they examine the theory, strategy and tactics of the Occupy protests.
The discussion was held at the left-wing Bluestockings book store in New York on Friday, Oct. 14, and filmed and promoted by the radical magazine Jacobin. The audience included participants in, and apparent organizers of, the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in lower Manhattan.
Lennard, who has also written for Politico and Salon, is identified in the video by the panel’s moderator as a freelancer for the Times, and also as the Times reporter who was arrested along with seven hundred activists on the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1.
When Lennard reported on her arrest at the time, she appears to have concealed her own apparent role in the Occupy protests, implying that her arrest was an abuse of press freedom. She used her affiliation with the Times to win her early release.
Sympathetic media expressed shock that a reporter had been taken into custody by allegedly overzealous police. Only sources like Newsbusters questioned that narrative at the time. The video suggests that the skeptics were correct in their suspicions.
In the video of the panel discussion, Lennard reveals herself to be a passionate Occupy supporter, and appears to have personal knowledge of its planned future activities, including illegal occupations of banks in New York City.
We have decided to post the entire video of the panel discussion–below, in full, as first posted by Jacobin magazine. We have made no edits; the jump cuts are apparently caused by the videographer.
Lennard, the woman at far-left (coincidentally), speaks as a “comrade” of the panelists and the audience–one actively part of the far-left intellectual theorizing and organizing behind Occupy, and also as someone with deep knowledge of its plans.
For example, at roughly 1:15:15, an audience member asks a question about how to manage the growing ideological divisions among anarchists and communists as they form “a new society” through the Occupy movement.
Lennard’s answer suggests that she identifies with the anarchist faction holed up at Zuccotti Park–and that she identifies with efforts by Occupy activists to conceal their true beliefs and goals:
Well, that’s what I don’t know. Let’s experiment. But I do think there are a few conditions that disallow for that that are at play now. So if we can address those, maybe it can be a more open possibility. The state of the square now…[people] would not speak at the park. Because being an outright anti-authoritarian or an anarchist is not really something that people like to be live streamed around the world with a fucking police pen around you. So there is a silencing that’s sort of gone on without much addressing, because to address it would be to out oneself. So if you’re talking–and this also addresses the question of escalation; it’s like–yes, there are a lot of people talking about many different ideas. Do they all want all of those ideas live streamed to the entire world on the assumption that everything is permitted and legal, when it quite clearly isn’t? So there is already a tendency in the park that means backing away from anti-authoritarian tendencies that don’t fall into pre-existing permitted institutional structures, or that can’t be coded by them. So I think there’s a problem with the way the park operates now that doesn’t allow for this kind of coming together.
Lennard’s “outing” of herself at the panel discussion demands an immediate response from the New York Times.
Recently, National Public Radio canceled the national distribution of the “World of Opera,” because the show’s host, Lisa Simeone, had become a spokesperson for the Occupy organization. Simeone was also fired as the host of “Soundprint,” an independent public radio show, for the same reason.
Following that precedent, the Times should take appropriate disciplinary action against Lennard regarding both her active involvement with the Occupy Wall Street protests, and also her attempt to hide that involvement. She cannot function as an objective reporter if she is actively participating in, and promoting, Occupy Wall Street.
Additionally, the Times should urge Lennard to contact the New York City Police Department, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to reveal her knowledge of any potential planned criminal activity by Occupy activists.
The Times should not allow Lennard to use her purported credentials as a reporter to shield her from revealing intimate knowledge of any apparent crimes being formulated against people and businesses in New York.
Nor should the Times allow Lennard to abuse her status as a reporter to avoid the legal consequences of her actions as an active participant in illegal Occupy actions.