I must say that NPR has certainly covered themselves in glory once again after being tipped off by Roll Call’s gossip columnist Neda Semnani (who seems to be the TMZ of the “Washington Is Hollywood For Ugly People” set) that Lisa Simeone is an anarcho-syndicalist Verdi-humper.
The voice behind two music shows heard on NPR affiliates was pushed out for violating the public radio network’s code of ethics by appearing at the D.C. portion of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Lisa Simeone, who still has a profile on the “People at NPR” website, hosted the syndicated show World of Opera and documentary series Soundprint, but was spending her free time demonstrating in the nation’s capital. Last night, a post appeared on the NPR blog entitled “Clarification Regarding Lisa Simeone,” assuring all scandalized listeners, “We of course take this issue very seriously.” Simeone says she was then fired, but not before being read the NPR rules.
“I don’t cover news. In none of the shows that I do, do I cover the news,” she said. “What is NPR afraid I’ll do? Insert a seditious comment into a synopsis of ‘Madame Butterfly?'”
An NPR spokesperson said that their rules apply to those who host culture shows, too. “We are not her employer, but she is a host for a show that we distribute,” said NPR. “She has that public presence.”
The overreaction appears to be part of a pattern for the network, following the Juan Williams/Fox News mess and the James O’Keefe fiasco, and subsequent forced resignations, earlier this year. As the Associated Press puts it, NPR is “sensitive to accusations that it carries a liberal bias.”
Now, less than 24 hours after NPR’s Senior Vice President for Marketing, Communications, and External Relations, Dana Davis Rehm sent out a panicky email NPR has switched to an all Hey, We Barely Knew The Girl format, all the time. Well played, smart people at NPR. Maybe someday you can donate your body to science so they can uncover the mysteries of an organism that is able to knee-jerk despite the absence of a spine.