Less than 24 hours after Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government posted a video of New York Times freelancer (and former POLITICO/occasional On Media blogger) Natasha Lennard speaking on a panel about Occupy Wall Street, the Times defended her reporting, but says it has “no plans” to use her on future stories on the protests.
The story, which appeared at both Big Government and Big Journalism featured New York Times freelance reporter Natasha Lennard participating–not merely observing–in Occupy Wall Street.
In response to a question, Lennard, who shared the panel with a journalist from The Nation, says the following:
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.
The New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy responded to questions about Lennard’s status and the Times’s policies on freelancers with a statement:
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. We have reviewed the past stories to which she contributed and have not found any reasons for concern over that reporting.
All our journalists, staff or freelance, are expected to adhere to our ethical rules and journalistic standards, and to avoid doing anything that could call into question the impartiality of their work for The Times.
Lennard defended herself on Twitter this morning, quipping, “ugh. last time i offer a post-structuralist critique in public!”
Full story at Politico.