Fired NPR Host/Protester Has Cheering Section at The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore Sun has clearly become the hometown cheering section for Lisa Simeone, the NPR host with the fierce radical moonlighting for "Occupy DC." TV critic David Zurawik felt NPR was right to insist the activism was a violation of its ethics code, but insisted "Simeone's integrity is admirable, and some of the folks on the right who try to mock those involved in the Occupy movement should only have such high standards as they slavishly take their marching orders from a certain cable TV channel chairman."

This seems to ignore that liberals aren't watching the government turn a half-billion taxpayer dollars over to Rupert Murdoch every year. Zurawik added: "Whether you agree with her or not, you have admire the way this 54-year-old Baltimore resident has stood her activist ground." Actually, no, you don't. 

Simeone has displayed all the arrogance you would expect from the leftists on NPR. She expected there was no reason to object to her both working on public radio shows and demanding on the sidewalks that "money that's being spent and wasted on slaughter come home here to spent in the U.S. on human needs." Apparently, those "human needs" are for more public radio, since no one ever suggests NPR be cut so we can fund food stamps.

Zurawik also quoted NPR veteran Adam Hochberg, who suggested rightly that NPR's programming is such a collage of affiliates that it's all part of the public image:

"This whole distinction that people are trying to draw where she works for a member station or she's a freelancer or whatever, in terms of NPR's Ethics Code, it doesn't matter. And in my opinion, it shouldn't matter, because on any given day, 'Morning Edition,' for example, is a conglomeration of stories produced by full-time NPR correspondents, member-station people, freelancers and independents. But the bottom line, to the listener, it's all NPR — it's all NPR news."

..."I think most journalists would just look at this and say it's obvious," Hochberg said. "If you just wrote about the local music scene, or you were just doing the recipe-swap column in the Thursday food section in your paper, you still couldn't be out serving as the spokesperson for a political movement at any journalistic organization I'm familiar with."

Simeone was fired by the makers of the NPR show Soundprint, but retained by WDAV in North Carolina, the station that produces the show World of Opera for about 60 NPR affiliates. NPR announced it would no longer distribute World of Opera -- but one might expect that the 60 stations will get a nice note from NPR HQ saying "Please continue to take this program. We just needed to keep the Republicans off our backs."

Jean Marbella wrote an editorial for the Sun applauding WDAV:

Bravo, fat lady.

Or rather, bravo, "World of Opera," the public radio show that brought a measure of sanity to the drama surrounding Lisa Simeone, the Baltimore-based public radio host who landed in a controversy over media bias last week over her volunteer work with an Occupy Washington-related group.

It says something about our current political climate that it was the world of Valkyries and suicidal geishas that eschewed the operatics and noted the obvious: What Simeone does on her own time has no bearing on her role as host of an arts show, so she can remain as its host.

Marbella rather bizarrely suggested this imbroglio showed the sorry state of our political discourse because all protesters could find common ground:

So perhaps it should be no surprise that the movements that have emerged to highlight what's wrong with the country are themselves increasingly forced into separate corners as well by this endless partisanship. The tea party and the occupy movements should have some overlap — most obviously, the bank bailouts that each rejects — but in an us-vs.-them world, there can be no bridges.

So let's take two seconds to wonder if it was discovered that an NPR host was very publicly serving as a spokesperson for the Tea Party, how long would it take NPR to dump them, and for liberals to applaud that it was the only proper ethical course?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis