UPDATED: NPR Drops Opera Show Over Freelance Host’s Protesting Proclivities
Latest Update: When WDAV insisted on keeping Lisa Simeone as a host of “World of Opera,” NPR dropped “World of Opera” Friday from the list of shows it distributes nationally. WDAV says it will now distribute the show itself, and that Simeone isn’t going anywhere.
Update:The AP has confirmed that Lisa Simeone has indeed been fired from her hosting position for Soundprint. When reached by email earlier this morning, Simeone told Antiwar.com that she was headed into a conference call with NPR and affiliate station. More updates to follow
Update II : NPR is insisting today that although it has concerns with Simeone, and is in “conversations” with the affiliate that produces one of the shows she hosts — “World of Opera,” on WDAV — it did not pressure Soundprint to fire her yesterday, nor did it have any conversations with the Soundprint producers. NPR does say its “ethics policy,” which was reportedly read to Simeone before she was fired from Soundprint, applies to all shows that NPR carries.
Update III: What “World of Opera” might sound like if Simeone isn’t fired.
Update IV : Simeone gets to keep the opera gig — for now!
The rightwing blogosphere, which in the face of the Occupy protests, has been feeling and acting more like a toddler who can’t get his way in the playground and has no idea of how to express it other than to run around crying, red-faced and hitting every moving thing with the sides of his balled-fists, has now gotten a woman fired from her job because she dared to get publicly involved with Occupy DC.
The Daily Caller, the brain child — emphasis on child — of Tucker Carlson, who has had the benefit of having an open point of view while pulling in big corporate salaries, like forever, who has never been in need of a handout or a free meal or a roof over his head, but likes to call Social Security and Medicare “welfare programs,” has been engaging in what amounts to pathetic undercover investigations of Occupy DC since early October.
It’s latest is to decry that “National Public Radio host Lisa Simeone appears to be breaking the taxpayer-subsidized network’s ethics rules by acting as a spokeswoman for Occupy D.C. group ‘October 2011′ which is currently ‘occupying’ Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. and is rallying parallel and in concert with, with Occupy D.C. Simeone hosts NPR’s nationally syndicated ‘World of Opera‘ program and ‘SoundPrint,’ a program that airs on NPR’s WAMU affiliate at American University in Washington, D.C.”
Ooooh, call in the stasi. But wait, Simeone is a freelancer who isn’t even employed by NPR not to mention that as host of an opera program is in no way involved in politics, news, current events or protests. Daily Caller may have forgotten to report that part, but once FOX News picked it up, NPR started getting Juan Williams flashbacks and supposedly pressured Simeone’s real employer to fire her. Just like that.
Note: Simeone has been working as an organizer with October 2011/Stop the Machine, which is a different organization that has been working parallel to, and at times in concert with, Occupy DC, and is also camping out at Freedom Plaza.
Here’s the hysterical email NPR sent out after Tucker and his bow-tied mob did their thing (hat tip to WarisaCrime.org):
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 6:12 PM
Subject: From Dana Rehm: Communications Alert
To: All Staff
Fr: Dana Davis Rehm
Re: Communications Alert
We recently learned of World of Opera host Lisa Simeone’s participation in an Occupy DC group. World of Opera is produced by WDAV, a music and arts station based in Davidson, North Carolina. The program is distributed by NPR. Lisa is not an employee of WDAV or NPR; she is a freelancer with the station.
We’re in conversations with WDAV about how they intend to handle this. We of course take this issue very seriously.
As a reminder, all public comment (including social media) on this matter is being managed by NPR Communications.
All media requests should be routed through NPR Communications at 202.513.2300 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will keep you updated as needed. Thanks.
About three and a half hours after the above email was sent, Simeone had been fired by a show called Soundprint as punishment for having been “unethical.” Here is her bio on that show’s website. And here she is on NPR‘s.
Soundprint is a show that does touch on politics and includes political viewpoint in Simeone’s ledes, but it is not an NPR program and not distributed by NPR. It is, however, heard on public radio stations. Despite the title “NPR World of Opera,” that show is produced by a small station called WDAV for which Simeone contracts. Simeone was not an NPR employee. WDAV has not expressed any concern over Simeone’s “ethics.”
“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. I’m not an NPR employee. 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?”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?”
We hear you sister, but you are (were) employed by a little-known affiliate doing earnest work on a tiny scale, while the aforementioned are “of the body,” part of the elite Borg that rakes in the big corporate cash for NPR. You are expendable, apparently, just like the rest of the 99 percent.