NYT Occupy Mole Says Cheers to Free* Media


Journalist? Activist? Intrepid girl reporter?

Welcome to the disreputable media, Natasha Lennard.

Lennard, a New York Times stringer who caused the Grey Lady to eat its own tail recently after video surfaced of her pontificating at an Occupy Wall Street flash-consciousness-raising consensusmob, is as unflappable as Steven Chu in saying toodle-oo to the establishment media:

A video of my appearance on the panel was picked up by a reporter at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, and the fallout led to the Times publicly stating that they had "no plans" to use me for future OWS coverage. (Although I had already pulled away from reporting for the Times on the issue, having decided only days before the debate that I would rather take an opinionated stance.)

As the Times publicly noted, they found no problem with any of the reporting I had done for them on OWS. Indeed, a court hearing upheld that I had been on the Brooklyn Bridge as a professional journalist and as such, deserved to have the disorderly conduct charge against me dismissed. The only reason I was on the Brooklyn Bridge that day was as a reporter, gathering and relaying information on what I saw, and nothing else. However, as has become clear, if I — or any other journalist — want to express a strong opinion on a political matter, I cannot contemporaneously report for a mainstream publication….

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.

Lennard has graciously taken a Reason rave as her Twitter bio, so just to show it's fair field and no favor: In my previous post on this issue, I may have laid on the stage-sighs and yawning gestures too heavily. I get bored by the argument over media objectivity because it seems to me a settled matter – nobody believes journalists are objective – and yet people keep arguing over it. But as long as the Times continues to speak ex cathedra, it's simply ducky for critics like BigGovernment's Lee Stranahan to assail the paper. If he got the impression I was belittling his scoop, I wasn't.

Good for Lennard that she's taking Los Tiempos' rejection well. Too bad for America's newspaper of record that it prefers to maintain a fiction about itself rather than pay a reporter who is willing to get arrested for the sake of an interesting story. 

* And by "free" we're referring to the freelance rate.

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  1. Her and Michelle Malkin, getting into a heated political argument, until they can’t restrain their repressed passions anymore, and they tear eachothers clothes off in a frenzy of torrid sexual exuberance.

    1. Just add baconlube…

      Be right back

      1. Dude, why the sudden interest in Baconlube? I only posted it yesterday, and now all these references…I had to buy a 6-pack to give to friends for holiday presents.

        1. Dude, I posted it first. And besides, it’s bacon.

          1. and lube.

  2. I have to give her credit for 1) taking Tim’s mocking of her and appropriating it for her Twitter feed, and 2) preferring to be honest about her biases.

    1. Yep, mega props.

      1. Nope epi just wishes he could screw her.

    2. I agree Epi.

      I also wait for the day when a Times reporter gets “fired” for actively supporting a Tea Party rally. ;~)

    3. You forgot:
      3) Being hot.

      1. No, mom and dad get the credit for that.

      2. Meh. She looks like a girl who would carry a chihuahua around while doing errands in one of them chihuahua bags.

        I saw one in Quizno’s the other day. WTF, aren’t there health regulations against that?

        1. She looks like a girl who would carry a chihuahua around while doing errands in one of them chihuahua bags.

          You know she probably secretly takes that as a compliment, right?

        2. Not fat enough for you Tulpa?

          She looks pretty great.

          1. She’s really a from-the-right-angle sort of chick:


            1. Barf: Funny, she doesn’t look Druish.

            2. The exposed bra strap in the first image is classy. I didn’t know she was in the garden of Eden, either.

              1. I didn’t know she was in the garden of Eden, either.

                And with Kris Kristofferson, no less!

                And that “bra” you speak of looks an awful lot like a wife-beater undershirt.

        3. Eeuuww. Doing what errands in one of them chihuahua bags?

        4. If health codes meant anything, Quizno’s wouldn’t exist. You know, there promotional characters were a bunch of rats at one time.

          1. Not rats.
            “We like the Moon …”

      3. You have very reduced standards.

  3. Yes, that’s the very thing our world has so desperately needed, in order to finally reach satori and spiritual perfection: one more baldly unapologetic shill for the Owwies.

    Oh, joy. Oh, rapture.

    1. I’ll take an honest fool over a dishonest one any day.

  4. Why didn’t NYT take this as an opportunity to move her to the opinion side?

    Looks like she’s got tons of talent; she’s willing to go where the action is…

    And the all-star fogies they got over on the opinion side now seem kinda tired–they could use some freshening up over there anyway if you ask me.

    1. + 1

      I’m way to opinionated to be a straight reporter, but I did well writing an opinion column for a year.

  5. But it is also with some pride that I have stopped writing for publications that aim for journalistic objectivity.

    It shan’t be long until this is the consensus view. Any pretense of objectivity will be considered pass?. Perhaps deservedly so.

    1. Not perhaps, but definitely. Some appear to believe that feigned objectivity serves some useful purpose, and that a lack of it, as though it were actually ever possible, should be expected to produce some type of social harm. To the former, I say no, it never has, and to the latter, no, it will not.

      All parties are interested parties; when we naively pretend they are not, we do so at our own peril.

      1. All parties are interested parties; when we naively pretend they are not, we do so at our own peril.

        So you don’t think you could get parachuted right now into Smithville, Wyoming, attend a town council meeting, and write a disinterested report about what took place?

        1. You imply that you could. I say that I could try.

          1. I personally happen to think your cynicism about objectivity is unfounded and over the top.

            But I’m still perfectly capable of writing this: In a Hit & Run thread on Friday, ox90 challenged the claim that objectivity is possible. “All parties are interested parties,” he wrote. He also argued that a pretense of objectivity soon will be considered pass?.

            1. Yes, it is mechanically possible to construct objective accounts; I am not claiming tape recorders to be politically biased. Are you saying, though, that what you wrote above bears any resemblance to reporting generally found, in this instance, in the NYT? There is a good likelihood that your school district publishes a small newspaper. What percentage of the reporting in that paper would you say meets the standard of what you wrote above?

              1. Oh. Sorry. I didn’t realize we’d moved from the “as though it were actually ever possible” argument to the “examples I happen to have at hand” one.

                1. I’m not the one who took us out of the context of the article and into a town council meeting, and then basically tried to equate reporting with the taking of minutes.

              2. well, technically, even subtle word choices (or the choice to use a tape recorder, versus, say, a DAC) encode for value judgements, inconsequential though they may be.

            2. By your use of the word “challenged”, you’re implying that 0x90’s opinion isn’t mainstream or normal.

              Bias detected.

        2. I would judge the Smithville meeting from a libertarian perspective. There is no way to avoid that subjectivity.

      2. Just because you’re too weak-minded to filter out significant bias doesn’t mean everybody is.

        It does take work but it’s not impossible. I have to do it in peer review as well as grading, judges and prosecutors are *supposed* to do it, the CBO and inspectors general are supposed to do it, etc. The functioning of a complex society requires some functions be performed in as objective a manner as possible.

        1. Yup. Not to mention, insofar as journalism goes, 90% of it isn’t about politics anyway.

          1. 90%. That is laughable. Politics is pervasive in this society; there is a political angle in almost any story.

            1. This is sort of begging the question, isn’t it?

              If the people reporting on topic X see it as apolitical — or, more to the point, never even regard its political tinge — are they actually writing a politically angled story?

              Your perception of the pervasiveness of politics is (or at least might be) irrelevant to the actual question on the table here.

              1. For instance, most people could be shown to have an implicit position regarding various aspects of political correctness. Within their thought process, this bias is nonexistent; it is simply their context. To accept your contention, I must deny this, and instead assume that they are at all times able to make themselves aware of such biases, and are furthermore able to filter them out, and I do not admit this as a realistic expectation.

                1. I think your stronger response up there would have been not “Politics is pervasive,” but rather, “Yes, many stories are not about politics, but politics isn’t the only area where humans have biases.”

                  (I still think it’s possible for people to report objectively, at least in most cases. I’d go so far as to say there’s an actual skill involved in it, which is what Tulpa was alluding to in the parent comment.)

                  1. Why would I say politics isn’t the only area where humans have biases, when my point was that most of our experience in this society is touched by politics. I was not saying political correctness is something other than politics, or that it is some kind of generic human bias. The example of political correctness was only a very benign example, too.

                    I consider a person’s predisposition to generally support or oppose school bonding issues to be a political bias. They do or do not have kids of their own; they are inherently biased. Or their position on whether a sports team ought to receive city funding to build a stadium. Those in question may not necessarily see those things as being political questions; they see them perhaps as issues of business or economics, or as something or other about ‘the children’.

                    Politics touches nearly every corner of your life, and you adopt positions regarding every one. As I said before, the level of disconnection required to render those biases ineffectual is something I do not expect from a human being, no matter how consciously disciplined, for reasons I already outlined. Call that cynical if you wish, but we will have to agree to disagree.

                2. I think you also can’t discount the very real possibility that there are people who just don’t give a shit, and thus have no real biases to bring. We’re sitting here on a political forum. In a way, we’re like fans on a Justin Bieber message board wondering how anyone could not just looove “Baby.”

                  Now, whether someone who just-doesn’t-give-a-shit should actually be reporting events of the world may be a legitimate question, but it’s still a different one.

            2. I’m got to agree with TomD on this. In my local media, the weekly town council meeting is 1 article. The rest of the articles are about volunteers planting flowers, because that’s what most people are more interested in.

        2. There seems to be some projection bias here regarding objective reality and one’s ability to perceive and report it. The best journalists know what’s important and real and pertinent to any given story. They keep their opinions to themselves. The others…well, that’s what blogs are for.

        3. I think you are fooling yourself: it is not a question of if, but of degree. Would you deny having favored certain students?

          1. As far as recommendation letters and perhaps enthusiasm for helping them? Of course I favor certain people.

            But that shit has to go out the window when you’re grading.

            1. That is nice in theory, but think about it. You will have different visceral reactions to different students. To the extent that you are unaware of these, they will bias your judgment. To the extent that you are, you will find yourself in a state of either under- or over-compensating for them, to some degree.

              To be clear, it is not my intention in using the example of students to call your integrity into question; I do not doubt that at all. On the contrary, it is more to illustrate that this is a scenario virtually devoid of any ulterior motive for bias, and that even here, it is mathematically impossible to achieve complete objectivity. How much more so once we enter the realm of politics, and political opinion making?

              So when I say, though it was far from being the main thrust of my original point, that it is not possible to be completely objective, that is what I mean: it is not possible. Some will approach it more closely than others, but in surveying the landscape, I do not see how one can conclude that this is anywhere close to being the rule.

              1. My problem is that your response is to totally give up and just disclose bias.* Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good, basically.

                * an act which is itself not free from bias…for example, I doubt David Brooks and I would summarize his leanings the same way.

                1. “Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good, basically.”

                  Note that you assume here some undefined meaning for good. My claim was that this purported good is a phantom, to which you, and others, ascribe an unspecified positive nature and value.

                  As was the original point, where I see potential harm resulting from the implicit or explicit denial of bias, I find no such harm in its explicit declaration. The definition of good I am using, then, is concerned with outcome, that being the product of both the reporter’s writing, and the reader’s reading, and in pursuit of this, I suggest disregarding any noble intentions on the part of the reporter, in favor of providing a more accurate context to the reader.

                  There does exist an argument against this position: if objectivity on the part of the reporter is stipulated, it is still possible for the reader to inject bias in the reading, which was not contained in the writing, based solely upon his prior knowledge of the reporter’s position. This would be pure elitism, and invalid in my view, but it is an argument that could be made.

            2. But that shit has to go out the window when you’re grading.

              That’s why I graded based on an objective rubric. Rutgers has a standardized rubric for grading lab reports based on the presence or absence of the parts of a proper lab report. We shared it with the students ahead of time. When I taught Animals Behavior, I made a similar rubric and shared it with my class.

              The fact that you’re including something as subjective as “bias” in your evaluation of student papers makes me suspect that you like to leave wiggle room in the grading to let you mark down students who say things that you think shouldn’t be said but don’t have the courage to actually put on a list of officially forbidden thoughts.

              1. I didn’t say I include “bias” in my grading, indeed I remove it as much as possible.

                And the problem for me is that doing a right = 1, wrong = 0 grading system in college-level math courses is incredibly counterproductive to learning and motivation. A student who makes a sign mistake in the middle of solving a complicated differential equation, which is otherwise correct, really should not get the same grade as someone who left the problem blank or made up a totally incorrect solution.

                Once you make that accommodation you’re into the world of partial credit, trying to figure out what the student was thinking, which is inherently subjective. The subjectivity is impossible to remove, all you can control is the bias.

        4. Tulpa, academia is full of bias that doesn’t get noticed, because the vast majority of academics have the same bias. I was once in an evolution lecture about statistics. When the professor gave us a problem to calculate, he said, “Let’s see if you can count better than Republicans in Florida.” How do you know you’re not imposing your own bias in the name of filtering out bias? You may believe that you’re teaching your students to be unbiased, but it’s possible that you’re just marking them down for not sharing your particular point of view.

          1. I would know if I was making political comments during a lecture. That’s not hard to filter out if you intend to do it. Though I admit sometimes supersensitive students take things politically — I had a student protest when I was presenting a problem on radiation-dating rocks because he thought the earth was 5000 years old, and the problem was blasphemous.

            tbh, that’s not even the bias I’m most concerned about. That bias is in evaluation of students, evaluation of papers in peer review, and bias in teaching the material (which I generally don’t have to worry about in math).

      3. Of course it would.

        Maximization of readership.
        They can still get subscribers from all sides while feigning to be objective.
        Drop the pretense and it’s leanings would be so obvious no non-liberal reader whatsoever would touch it with a ten foot pole.

        The Times, in the end, is still about making money.

    2. The pretense of objectivity might survive, because accusations of bias are still a convenient way to dismiss reports and ideas from people who aren’t in one’s particular bubble.

    3. Journalistic Objectivity was one of the stupidest ideas of the 20th century.

      1. Right behind judges being objective, I guess.

  6. I would turn that sideways.

  7. I semi-wrote and almost published a piece called “My Advice To Natasha Lennard”. I didn’t, because while it’s kind of a good headline it’s admittedly a douchey piece to write on a human level. So I stopped writing it, even though I was writing it with nothing but good intentions because I don’t wish Ms. Lennard ill.

    But now that she’s published her piece — that was more or less my advice. I thought it was a good thing for her to be away from the NYT and that she should be herself. I don’t agree with her on lots of stuff but THAT Natasha Lennard — the one on the video — is sure more interesting.

    The Times public editor recently wrote a big piece about how the Times is trying to balance their coverage and discuss the origins. The Times blew it — they had Natasha Lennard right there and she could have told them, if they’d thrown off the yoke of Times-style ‘objectivity’ and let her tell them the truth.

    1. “The Times public editor recently wrote a big piece about how the Times is trying to balance their coverage…”

      Somehow, I get the feeling this ‘balance’ would approximate Pelosi’s claim that “60 Minutes” is a right-wing organization.
      When you lean that far to the left, anything that keeps you from capsizing is ‘right’. But it ain’t “balance”.

      1. They’re already balanced. They have big government liberals Krugman and Friedman on one side, and big government conservatives Brooks and Kristol on the other.

        1. Well, when you capsize to port and starboard at the same time, I guess that is “balanced”.

          1. The NYT is the Guam of daily periodicals, then?

    2. Lee, great to see you here!

      I took one of your excellent LightWave classes back in the day. Actually, I’m still waiting for the Aura CD you promised. 🙂

    1. The part where “a handicapped person dies” was particularly heart-wrenching. Or something.

  8. But it is also with some pride that I have stopped writing for publications that aim for journalistic objectivity.

    Weren’t we talking about the New York Times?

    1. +50

  9. We’re doing this for you:…..e-1.979573

    Seriously though, why is it controversial among the feminists that men keep trying to get in the spotlight at OWS? Have they never fucked a guy based on the metrics that 99 % of women use in selecting mates?

  10. I think every reporter’s political positions and ideological bent should be put next to their name or otherwise on their reportage. It would allow the readers/watchers the ability to more closely dissect what their reading/watching.
    In my newsroom, it would be:
    Joe Blow: Liberal as fuck.
    Jane Doe: Liberal as shit.
    Joe Blow: Pragmatic liberal.
    Jane Doe: 25-year-old clueless liberal.
    Joe Blow: Sniper of republicans.
    Jane Doe: Liberal who thinks a cock is a weapons.
    Jamie Kelly: Libertarian.

    1. I don’t really like that idea for general reporting, because it just invites ad hominem attacks. Expecting reporters to be as objective as humanly possible, at least in the way they select and write their stories, is a much better idea.

    2. I mean, I like that Reason has a listing of who their contributors are voting for every presidential election, but they really shouldn’t push that standard on news organizations. What’s good for opinion publications is not necessarily good for news ones.

      1. “What’s good for opinion publications is not necessarily good for news ones.”

        Uh, there’s a difference?

  11. While complete, absolute, utter objectivity is impossible for anyone this side of Vulcan, that doesn’t mean objectivity is something that shouldn’t be striven for in journalism. I agree that no reporter can avoid having subtle unconscious biases seep through into his or her writing and story choice, but that’s not what the MSM is guilty of — they willfully ignore well-known alternative POVs, take preposterous govt pronouncements at face value, and in some cases actually falsify their reporting (for example, the Tea Party rally where CNN cropped a photo of a rallier to show he was carrying a rifle but hide the fact that he was African American).

    Just because it’s unavoidable that some hot dogs are going to contain rat droppings doesn’t mean it’s OK to just put a rat dropping disclaimer on the package and make no attempt to mitigate the fecal concentration.

    1. Because all historians have political preferences, there’s no point in trying to be an objective historian.

      Because all judges have political preferences, there’s no point in trying to be an objective jurist.

      Because all scientists have political preferences, there’s no point in trying to be an objective scientists.

      *Yawn*…Objectivity is just soooo passe…

    2. Strive for honesty and the objectivity, or as much of it as you need, will follow.

      1. I’d say Manchester and Tuchman get about as close as you can, but the leakage is still there.

      2. “not lying” isn’t enough, though it would be an improvement.

        As the great Costanza put it, you’re not lying if you think it’s true. That’s not objectivity.

        1. !??!!?!?!

          OK, Tulpa. This comment confirms my suspicions. By definition, a bias is consistent inaccuracy with the errors in the same direction. Working to eliminate inaccuracies is the only way to eliminate bias. I feel sorry for your students now. You mark them down for writing something subjective that you disagree with.

          1. Working to eliminate inaccuracies is the only way to eliminate bias.

            Weren’t you just claiming to have had some statistical training? Error arises from variance as well as bias. So you can have an unbiased estimator that is still not accurate.

            Also (a) I wasn’t really using the mathematical definition of bias, rather the more general colloquial usage, and (b) honesty is not accuracy.

            Also I hope my students aren’t writing subjective things on their calculus/diffeq tests.

    3. not possible for Vulcans either. They’re prone to smugness.

    4. Tulpa, I’ll grant that the unbiased reporter is a good ideal. Unfortunately, academia is so biased and walled off from the general public that it has turned the quest for unbias journalism into a method to silence opposing perspectives. How about a compromise? A respectable newspaper should only hire reporters who got good grades in calculus and statistics. Without those two courses, you don’t have the skills to objectively identify bias.

      1. I’ll grant that the unbiased reporter is a good ideal.

        I dont.

        The civil war era newspapers had it right.

        For example, the Louisville Courier was pro-union and the Louisville Journal was pro-rebel (or vice versa, I dont give enough of a damn to look it up). They were located across the street from each other.

        The supposedly objective Louisville Courier-Journal is anything but.

        They were honest in the 1860s. And probably made for better reporting (you just might need to buy both papers to triangulate to the truth).

  12. Behold, the ultimate tchotchke, the Abu Hamza Abu Hanger:

  13. Also, the Atlantic really needs to get out of the video game. The tweeness and “you should do a video about my cool friends, they’re amazing!” factor are horrifying.…..ce/248643/

  14. As soon as I saw “ex cathedra” I just knew this post was written by Tim.

    1. What, the “Tim Cavanaugh” that came about 300 words earlier didn’t give it away?

    1. JUST for that, fuck her — statism is statism, whether it’s masked by the outright authoritarian garb of the quasi-socialist or noble rhetoric of republicanism, and Romney’s an A-class sleazebag statist

      1. Yeah, I’ve lost my faith in *her* objectivity, that’s for sure.

      2. JUST for that, fuck her

        But there’s so many other reasons to hate her squawking, war-mongering, narrow little ass.

        1. Her hair, for one thing. Her voice, for another.

        2. That’s not the point — what I meant was that her endorsement of Romney ALONE, without consideration of anything else she’s ever done or said, means she can go fuck herself.

          1. Ahhh.


      3. Nice sense of proportion you got there.

        Tell me, you want Obama nominating Scalia’s and Kennedy’s replacements?

        1. Sure. May as well get Obama’s outright Liberals over Romney’s conservative version of Wendel Holmes. And a guy who constantly brings up judicial noms as the only reason even needed to back Romney shouldn’t be talking about ‘sense of proportion’.

        2. Paul would beat Obama.

          I would prefer Paul to nominate Scalia and Kennedy’s replacements.

  15. Tell me, you want Obama nominating Scalia’s and Kennedy’s replacements?

    But “As voting types, we’ll have to vote for the not-Obama guy, and unfortunately it’s gonna be this local-weatherman-lookin’ robo-douche who’s about 92% as bad, but hey” and “Suck the Mitt, ‘baggers; SUUUUUUCK IIIIIT” aren’t the same sort of thing.

    Coulter’s job is to talk mad shit that makes conservatives say “You go, …girl!” so endorsing Romney is a letter of resignation.

    And Obama’s very likely to beat the celestial onesie off him, so it’s also stupid.

  16. nobody believes journalists are objective ? and yet people keep arguing over it.

    Sigh… what contemptible bullshit. YOU don’t think journalists are objective because they don’t report your dogma as fact. Whether all journalists are biased as imperfect creatures is a nice philosophical question, but that’s not your aim. Your aim is to equate New York times reporters with Sean Hannity, throwing your hands in the air in cynical relativism. No reporter is perfect but if you can’t figure out that a story in the NYT is more trustworthy than on Breitbert then you are retarded.

    1. projection ain’t just a river in the cinema theatre.

      1. lol + 3 to yonemoto.

    2. Post by Tony should always be followed by ‘what contemptible bullshit’

  17. So, Pomplamoose is part of #OWS now?

  18. MY dogma IS fact.

    1. Got that right, prole.

  19. My newest movie review links social activism and foreign cinema
    You can find it here…..a-struggle

  20. As the Times publicly noted, they found no problem with any of the reporting I had done for them on OWS

  21. and and other witnesses claimed that the elbowing-in-the-head pr

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