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NYT Stringer Chooses ‘F*ck This Shit’ Activism

From any high school ‘newspaper’ – no, wait, it’s from Salon:

Why I quit the mainstream media

Journalism must break the chains of objectivity and report truth — and the Occupy movement led me to do just that

By Natasha Lennard
November 15, 2011

I was in complete agreement when, last month, the triumvirate of right-wing firebrands Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart all condemned me for being more than just a journalist. They are correct, and I agree with every pundit who argues that I have no place in the mainstream media.

We suspect most conservative pundits would actually think Ms. Lennard exemplifies the "mainstream media." They don’t think of her as being anything "more."

On Oct. 14, I appeared on a panel at the radical, feminist Blue Stockings bookstore in New York’s Lower East Side. Hosted by Jacobin Magazine, the discussion addressed left-wing politics and strategy. During the event, I criticized old-left styles of organizing and praised — with some ardor — the experimental nature of Occupy Wall Street. I also dropped “F-bombs” in abundance.

Isn’t she shocking! What a revolutionary.

Stumbling out of the bookstore onto Allen Street after the debate, I hugged an old friend, who has been heavily committed to Occupy activities in New York. “I think I just watched you lose your job,” he said.

“I know,” I replied, with a smile

Such courage. Such commitment to the cause. Such self importance from a lowly stringer whose previous ‘articles’ included two sentence blurbs about online apps. (See below.)

The job he was referring to was a sporadic freelance gig with the New York Times. I had contributed in previous weeks to its Occupy Wall Street coverage and, notably, I had been arrested while reporting on the Brooklyn Bridge.

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.

Note, however, that The Times did not fire her. They just weren’t going to use her for future Occupy stories.

(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.)

Did she send out a press release? We don’t recall seeing her "pulling away" reported on any of the evening news broadcasts.

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

Which is all you need to know about the New York Times.

In my view, it now makes little sense to be objective about Occupy Wall Street and its various, amorphous iterations across the country. As Matt Taibbi wrote recently in Rolling Stone about learning to love OWS: “People don’t know exactly what they want, but as one friend of mine put it, they know one thing: FUCK THIS SHIT! We want something different: a different life, with different values, or at least a chance at different values.”

Now that is a cause worth fighting for. It’s almost as good as ‘resist we much!’

If the diffuse and experimental disruptions, discussions, assemblies, occupations, strikes, marches, chants and more that constitute OWS are primarily coherent only in so far as they agree that the current status quo, rife with inequity and cruelty, is wrong — I cannot but consider myself in agreement. As such, it would be disingenuous to play the “objective reporter.”

Why not? Everyone else does?

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.

Which publications are those? But doesn’t it sound like Ms. Lennard thinks interning at The Times and the Politico is a major accomplishment? Those operations are only too happy to have kids work for them for next to nothing.

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.

And breaking windows if far more likely to change the system than say writing news articles for the mainstream media.

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.

Hilarious. Again, we can’t help but wonder what mainstream media she is talking about. The Times, for instance, is not any too obsessed with facts.

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 girl obviously did not go to journalism school. All of today’s modern journalists want to instigate change. They all want to pick and choose their own facts. Can she really be this obtuse?

Breitbart, Beck and friends are correct in saying I’m more than just a journalist.

We’re not sure they called her "more than just a journalist."

They are wrong in saying I’m an activist – that means something specific, in my mind.

Ms. Lennard not only wants her own facts, she wants her own dictionary.

But if by “more” they mean I am a journalist in agreement with those across the country who think “Fuck this shit” when it comes to a system upholding inequality and alienation for all but a few, then they are right. This — and my proclivity for dropping “F-bombs,” once again — is the reason the mainstream media and I have parted ways.

What a courageous screed. We remember reading such things in our own high school newspaper, once upon a time.

By the way, if Ms. Lennard is so unhappy with the American system, she can always go back to England from whence she recently came.

For the record, here is a past article from Ms. Lennard’s important work at the New York Times ‘Opinionator’ section:

Philosophy App

June 27, 2010

A new mobile app can connect users directly with philosophers. Is that a good thing?

That is the full extent of the piece.

What a brilliant career she is sacrificing!

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “NYT Stringer Chooses ‘F*ck This Shit’ Activism”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    ““People don’t know exactly what they want, but as one friend of mine put it, they know one thing: FUCK THIS SHIT! We want something different: a different life, with different values, or at least a chance at different values.”

    Aye, there lies the rub, as some pithy sage might’ve said. And what, pray-tell are those “values”? On what basis would you decide? Certainly not anything based in a religious context. Perhaps the Brady Bunch standard where everything’s about Marcia? Or…how about the “American Idol Standard” where there’s a Simon Cowell to tell you how horrible you are on a regular basis.

    Values. Heh. At the heart of it, your values are lost because you never learned any or, that which you did learn are all based on relativity. No, not Einsteinian relativity but the kind where double-standards abound; Where it’s ok for YOU to take a crap in the park…but not ok for sewage treatment plants to exist near your house.

    You have been coddled, helped, and given everything your whole life. Now you’re in your twenty’s suddenly realizing that you’re having to compete, earn a living, pay for your own food and rent and you suddenly don’t like it. Wahhh. Welcome to the real world. And oh, that utopia bullshit that your teachers and professors were all trying to lay down on you? It’s a lie. The alarm has gone off and you’d better get your ass out of bed and get your fanny perpendicular and go get a job. People have been doing it for generations. It’s time you did too.

  2. tranquil.night says:

    Something different looks like a lot more of the same ol’ shit to me: a hurricane of hopeless human debris. You go girl, show the Man – keep on DGAFing it right down that death spiral.

  3. Laree says:

    ““People don’t know exactly what they want, but as one friend of mine put it, they know one thing: FUCK THIS SHIT! We want something different: a different life, with different values, or at least a chance at different values.”

    Huh? I wonder if that’s how they felt at the start of the French Revolution in 1789 at the birth of socialism. “The General Will”….I don’t really wonder.

  4. DW says:

    It’s almost as good as ‘resist we much!’


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