NPR Fires Host of Opera Show for Participating in Occupy DC

Not brave
Media • Views: 19,550

Lisa SimeoneToday we see a very disappointing move from NPR, who have fired Lisa Simeone from her job as host of NPR’s Soundprint non-political documentary show after the right wing propaganda journal Daily Caller accused her of “ethics violations” because of her involvement in Occupy DC.

This article set off a predictable chorus of squawking from the parrots of the right wing blogosphere, calling for Simeone to be fired.

Simeone also freelances as host of “World of Opera,” and may be fired from that job too — because NPR’s executives are so gun shy about being accused of political bias that they’re overreacting in the most absurd ways, and letting the right wing hate machine dictate their actions. A little courage is called for, and a little support for their own employees when they’re dishonestly targeted by the deranged wingnut blogosphere.

Simeone comments on this unfortunate decision:

“I find it puzzling that NPR objects to my exercising my rights as an American citizen — the right to free speech, the right to peaceable assembly — on my own time in my own life,” Simeone wrote in an email response to questions from the Sun Wednesday night. 

“I’m not an NPR employee,” she continued. ” I’m a freelancer.  NPR doesn’t pay me.  I’m also not a news reporter.  I don’t cover politics.  I’ve never brought a whiff of my political activities into the work I’ve done for NPR World of Opera.  What is NPR afraid I’ll do — insert a seditious comment into a synopsis of Madame Butterfly?”

Simeone went on to say, “This sudden concern with my political activities is also surprising in light of the fact that Mara Liaason reports on politics for NPR yet appears as a commentator on FoxTV, Scott Simon hosts an NPR news show yet writes political op-eds for national newspapers, Cokie Roberts reports on politics for NPR yet accepts large speaking fees from businesses.  Does NPR also send out “Communications Alerts” about their activities?”

UPDATE at 10/20/11 12:23:14 pm

To be accurate, Ms Simeone was not fired by NPR — she was fired by Soundprint Media Center, Inc., who produce the documentary show she hosted. But it’s clear that NPR played a role in this:

Lisa Simeone said she was fired the previous evening from “Soundprint,” a music documentary show that isn’t produced by NPR but is aired by its affiliates across the country. She said the head of Soundprint Media Center Inc., which produces the show, read NPR’s code of ethics to her before she was fired.

NPR also questioned Simeone’s involvement in the “Occupy D.C.” protest and said its ethics code applies to the shows it carries. But NPR said Simeone doesn’t work for the radio network, and it hadn’t pressured Soundprint to fire her.

(h/t: Killgore Trout.)

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