All of you folks heading to an occupy [fill in the blank] better be careful. Folks are watching you and they are taking names.
"A public radio host was fired on Thursday after the conservative political site The Daily Caller exposed her role as a spokeswoman for "October 2011," the faction of Occupy Wall Street movement occupying Washington's Freedom Plaza.
Lisa Simeone, the host of the nationally syndicated "World of Opera" show, and former weekend host of "All Things Considered," is a freelancer working for WDAV, NPR's Davidson, N.C., affiliate, where "World of Opera" originates. She also was the host for the weekly D.C. show "Soundprint" on NPR's WAMU affiliate.
Simeone confirmed on Thursday that she had been fired from the "Soundprint" show; NPR is "in conversations" about her role as both "World of Opera" host and Occupy D.C. protester.
"We recently learned of World of Opera host Lisa Simeone's participation in an Occupy D.C. group," NPR communications SVP Dana Davis Rehm wrote in a memo to affiliates. "We're in conversations with WDAV about how they intend to handle this. We of course take this issue very seriously."
Those conversations could result in Simone's firing from that show, too. On Thursday, Rehm added: "We fully respect that the management of WDAV is solely responsible for the decision making around Lisa's participation in Occupy DC and her freelance role with WDAV's program."
On Wednesday, Simeone wrote in an email to the Baltimore Sun that she didn't understand what the fuss was all about:
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 Fox TV, 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?
Ms. Simeone, didn't you know that all political activities aren't created equal? [Article]
I will be heading out of the country for a few days. I will try to blog, but I am not sure if I will be able to.
Holla at you soon. That's if they let me me back into A-merry-ca. :)