Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Protagonist Press

There is new demigoddess in the pantheon of Liberal activists who advanced political objectives while earning their daily bread pretending to journalistic objectivity, and subsequently lost their jobs when outed: Natasha Lennard.

Lennard is a British free-lancer who blogged for the New York Times and contributed to its coverage of the dramatic October 1st Brooklyn Bridge arrests of 700 Occupy Wall Street protesters.

OWS seems to be elevating a number of these Leftist heroes and heroines to the highest altars.
The police said it was the marchers’ choice that led to the enforcement action.
“Protesters who used the Brooklyn Bridge walkway were not arrested,” Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department, said. “Those who took over the Brooklyn-bound roadway, and impeded vehicle traffic, were arrested.”
But many protesters said they believed the police had tricked them, allowing them onto the bridge, and even escorting them partway across, only to trap them in orange netting after hundreds had entered.
“The cops watched and did nothing, indeed, seemed to guide us onto the roadway,” said Jesse A. Myerson, a media coordinator for Occupy Wall Street who marched but was not arrested.
Those tricky police--duping those poor, trusting, law abiding protestors into actions they didn't want to engage in, and receiving all that world-wide puclicity.  Police brutality!

The following day's Times carried a story under Lennard's byline, "Covering the March, on Foot and in Handcuffs," in the City Room section.
As a reporter covering the march, conducted by the Occupy Wall Street protesters, I was in position to get a close view of some events on the bridge as the arrests began. But as one of those arrested, I was also well-positioned to describe what happened next, at least for a number of those detained.
She subsequently contributed eye-witness accounts to other articles for the paper.

Her troubles (which will likely prove to be a huge boon to her career in a Leftist industry) began when video of Lennard surfaced on BigGovernment.com showing her playing a more strategic, advisory role at a confab of OWS organizers.
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.
The reader can judge for his- or herself as video of the meeting and Lennard's relatively small part in it are embedded in the BigGovernment link.

The Times stands by her reports, which are not in question, and indicates that it has no plans to use her for future coverage of OSW.

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.
The point is simply that Natasha Lennard helped to get the snowball rolling, which has now taken on a life of its own.  Her reportorial efforts are no longer necessary. The narrative has been established.  She contributed significantly by shaping sympathetic coverage at the outset.

The point of underscoring dual roles played by media types is not to prove that OWS is an all media fabrication or a top-down manipulation.  It is partly both, but certainly not exclusively.  The point is simply to highlight a phenomenon at work in all political and social coverage, not just OWS news.

People in the mainstream media are not simply objective reporters of what is happening.  They are increasingly active protagonists shaping events like OWS for media consumption in order to serve Left-wing interests.

Media bias is not exclusively a Leftist phenomena, just predominantly, because media, being dominated by Leftists, is predominantly Leftist.

With the advent of alternative media, like Andrew Breitbart's various Big- websites, the tables are turning.  The Left doesn't like it as evidenced by the initial, Politico link to this post.

We're still a long way from unmolested history.  But, at least the Fourth Estate now has a watchdog.  And it must periodically sacrifice its own on the altar of impartiality in order to maintain its pretensions.

Perhaps the unfolding landscape will confirm Mill's hypothesis, at least in the information-industry context, that truth (small "t") is more likely to emerge from a multiplicity of voices than from the imposition of a unitary one.

Certainly, the truth about OWS is.

1 comment:

  1. Yea,well these days would be "martyrs" are reduced to having to go to court instead of actually dying.

    Robbins Mitchell