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Lisa Simeone keeps job with World of Opera

Lisa Simeone

The good news is that Occupy DC participant Lisa Simeone will retain her job as host of NPR World of Opera. The This is NPR blog has a brief notice mentioning that World of Opera sponsor WDAV will keep Simeone on. She came under fire yesterday for her participation in the Occupy Wall Street related protests.

Simeone fared less well, however, when it came to holding onto her position as host for Soundprint. Here’s that program’s statement about her:

Soundprint and Lisa Simeone have ended their work together after fifteen years. Soundprint is a journalistic program and Lisa’s leadership role as a member of the steering committee and a spokesperson for the October 2011 protest activities, associated with the Occupy DC movement, conflicts with her role as the host of a documentary series. Soundprint adheres to the highest standards of journalism which include maintaining appropriate distance from marches, demonstrations and other political activity. These are standards held by many other journalism organizations, including National Public Radio.

Lisa has been a dynamic and engaging host for Soundprint, and we wish her well for the future.

Simone has been less sanguine about the termination. Here are her reactions, made to David Swanson of the WarisaCrime blog:

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?

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2 Responses to Lisa Simeone keeps job with World of Opera

  1. Carlton West October 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Lisa Simeone has the smoothest, sweetest voice in radio broadcasting. She has earned many faithful fans & followers during her career. Soundprint/NPR was very stupid to fire her. Opera aficionados don’t care about her politics. Bring her b-a-a-a-ack!

  2. w. barnes October 21, 2011 at 5:08 am #

    NPR struggles to be fair, but, like a lot of organizations, it is intimidated by the bullies on the right. Ms. Simeone’s comments make clear she understands the situation.

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