reporter radio host for participating in Occupy movement:
Simeone worked for more than 15 years as a freelancer on Soundprint, a documentary radio show out of Laurel. Last night she had a talk with her boss, Moira Rankin, president of the Soundprint Media Center.
It wasn’t one of those discussions that bosses like having. Rankin quizzed Simeone about her involvement as an organizer of the October 2011/Stop the Machine protests. (For the record, and per Simeone: She had no official connection or duties as a spokesperson for Occupy DC whatsoever; all reports indicating as much are incorrect, including the NPR post that claims to correct the inaccuracies in all the other accounts.)
The back and forth between documentary mogul and freelancer, says Simeone, was drawn out and strange. After much awkwardness, Simeone just came out and asked, “Wait a minute — what are you doing? Are you firing me?”
Yes, came the response. Simeone was not pleased. The reason for her dismissal as a freelancer was her participation in the protests: She was told that she was “not allowed to have any partisan involvement.” She fired back: “The occupy movement is as nonpartisan as it can get because we despise all political parties equally.”
NPR protests: she was only an independent contractor!
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much, til you spend half your life just covering up.
Score another one for the brownshirts.
Update. Technically, she was fired by Soundprint, a documentary radio show on an NPR
outlet affiliate, as the article indicates. You can’t convince me that NPR’s fear of being labeled as liberal didn’t play a role here.
Update update. The NPR affiliate has reversed its decision. Excuse me for not thinking it’s awesome that they only temporarily fired her for working while liberal.
The Other Chuck
The fact is, NPR never employed her so they didn’t fire her. The blame belongs to the local station.
So when can we expect to see the Juan Williams Brigade rushing to her defense? Yeah, thought so.
NPR didn’t fire her–that’s the lede of the WaPo story. Your hyperlink is wrong.
I am sure that this action will cause a lot more people to consider not renewing their subscription to NconPR. I quit during the Bush Administration. They are fairly slick in their interviews but I noted that there was less follow up and a lot more spin and lies left unchallenged. I could hear the difference shortly after they fired Bob Edwards. Steadily down hill since then. Boo to NPR, fairly unbalanced.
@The Other Chuck: Was it a local station or the Soundprint media center?
Meanwhile, journalists are joining the strike in Greece as their government readies their army to shoot their trash collectors
She can’t be a protestor and a journalist reporting on the protest at the same time.
The Other Chuck
Ah you’re right, looks like Soundprint fired her, since she still has her other gig.
Her job there was to report on the protests, she joined them, she was canned for it. I wish other outfits actually had such standards.
Ugh. Here we see the example of not checking before posting. Fallows already did his piece on this a few HOURS ago.
They didn’t fire her – they “persuaded” Soundprint to fire her.
ETA: According to Fallows, they reversed their decision. My bad.
Yes, she can, in fact
Add another item to the collection labeled: Free Speech For Andrew Breitbart’s Asshole Only!
She hosts a music program. She’s not a reporter.
Short Bus Bully
NPR has the spine of an amoeba. As does the Democratic party.
@smelter rat: Since she wasn’t a journalist reporting on the protest it’s not really an issue, is it?
@smelter rat: #OWS is protesting in recitative?
If that is the case, then I totally see why Soundprint fired her.
Just like FOX can’t organize teabagger howlathons and then provide ludicrously distorted coverage of the five dingbats and an embarrassed dog that actually showed up?
Anyone who donates to NPR is a sucker. Period.
This is appalling. Full stop. And their lying and equivocating just proves that they know they are nothing but lickspittles to the Village. As does their employment of Village Lickspittle Extraordinaire, Cokie Roberts all these years.
So glad I cut them off years ago. The Bush Years ruined them completely.
@joes527: well and they found out that she has Justin Bieber CD’s.
soundprint is a really good program and if lisa simeone has anything to do with it being such a great program, then shame on npr for firing her. i am glad i don’t donate anymore to npr.
There’s no such thing as “an NPR outlet”. NPR doesn’t own or operate radio stations. They sell programming to radio stations.
I agree with your suspicion that NPR’s institutional fear of being perceived as Liberal was involved, or even the local station’s fear of NPR’s fear.
But it is worth pointing out that NPR’s code of conduct of requiring its contributors to be politically neutral has an exception precisely for people in Ms. Simeone’s position:
ETA: via Comrade Luke’s comment, James Fallows says the station has reversed its decision to fire her.
And coloratura arias (assisted by the chorus).
Too Many Jimpersons (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.)
What the fuck is wrong with the American press? They shit themselves with fear that somebody will hand “Liberal!” around their necks, and then kiss Republicans’ asses thinking this kiss, this kiss, at long last, will show the Republicans that they really and truly aren’t liberal.
I don’t get it. Most of these are what most reasonable people would call smart. Can’t they see they’re playing a game they can never win? The only way to never be beaten over the head with the liberal club is to always say or write only what the Republicans say you can. And even then, you’re only provisionally not liberal; the Republicans can revoke the “not liberal” judgement any time the damned well feel like it, for any reason or none at all. The only way to win this game is not to play it.
It’s like the pudding-spined kids in high school who debase themselves to hang out with the popular kids. Only it isn’t so pathetic when a 15 or 16 or 17 year old kid does this: they don’t have enough faith in themselves to stand up for themselves. The press is filled, though, with ostensible grownups, who have gone through college. Chronologically, at least, these people aren’t 15 years old any more. Why do they keep behaving like they are? What am I not seeing here? I can’t understand it.
When I first heard about this, the first thing I thought of was that it was Shirley Sherrod all over again. They couldn’t fire her fast enough.
Well, that’s really unfortunate for her. She was fired by the show Soundprint itself, for what it sounds like scared of attention reasons.
She’s not a political reporter, so I don’t think there’s a problem with her going to the protest.
@smelter rat: IMHO,I think you can be a protester and a journalist at the same time, but you end up as a partisan journalist (not necessarily a bad thing if you’re upfront and open about it ((see British Media, or “Infamous Scribblers”) or you scrub your story of your bias as best you can (more easily said that done).
It doesn’t really matter here as she wasn’t covering the protests.
Obviously, from the story with multiple corrections, this isn’t NPR, but it still seems like a company firing someone because they’re scared
NOT FIRED BY NPR, RTFA
If the RNC issued a press release declaring that Europe should henceforth be referred to as “Fagland”, NPR would threaten to fire any and all of it’s reporters that didn’t either faithfully follow that directive, or refuse to mention Europe at all.
@MikeJ: She was reporting on their harmonizing and accentato capabilities during their “We. Are. theninetyninepercent” chants. Apparently, they were found wanting so she decided to stop reporting and start conducting.
Moira Rankin is a “documentary mogul” now?
Nice work if you can imagine it.
This is why NPR is useless.
I wish they’d fire Neal Conan, I can’t stand him.
I never said firing her in this circumstance was right, I’m simply stating that as reporter she ethically can’t participate in a protest that he/she is reporting on. If she was just there as a good citizen, then clearly she should face no consequences.
I don’t think they would have reversed the decision if a thousand knuckleheads hadn’t screamed “NPR FIRES REPORTER”, though.
Being involved in a vaguely liberal protest bad!
Cupping the balls while fellating a right winger good!
Next up – NPR fires Mara Liasson for her regular appearances on Fox News. Wait for it – uh huh.
“You can’t convince me that NPR’s fear of being labeled as liberal didn’t play a role here.”
And the complete absence of any evidence to support that hypothesis apparently doesn’t bother you even a little bit.
From the very same article to which you linked:
“Just goes to show you: If something goes wrong in the world of public radio, it’s not too hard to tar NPR with the smudge. Regardless of the facts.”
The fact that you’re every bit as biased as the average Wingnut doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that you either can’t see it or won’t own up to it.
Yup. It’s right to be outraged at their utter gutlessness in the face of even an imagined risk of rightwing outrage. When they go too far in kowtowing to the Right, it’s right to call them on it, to make them know that spinelessness is not acceptable. And it’s important to celebrate the apparent fact that people with this reaction apparently helped these people to reinsert the spine they’d tried so assiduously to discard.
You may be the single most holier-than-thou, sanctimonious person I have ever encountered.
Circumstantial evidence is still evidence.
@bk: This was Lisa Simeone’s original statement:
@jwb: Kick ass, lady!
@Dougerhead: I would agree that the knee jerk outcry probably had something to do with the reversal of the decision.
Fuck, if I were her, I’d start looking for a new gig, because that’s going to be aawwwwkward!
Bad on the show, regardless. I will still continue to give money to the local NPR affiliate stations whose programs I enjoy.. It does upset me when businesses don’t stand up for their workers.
Thank you for saying it nicer than me.
I just finished sending off a letter to MN Public Radio telling them that I thought it was a chickenshit move by NPR to get Simeone fired and that I was through providing financial support for the gutless reporting on Morning Transcription and Rich Things Considered. Damn, I love MN Public Radio but I really wish that MPR would dump those two shitty shitty programs. I cut my support in half and directed it all to MPR’s music station.
Nice that the WDAV rehired her, but what about Soundprint? Why not ask them on their Facebook page, linked above?
To recap: She wasn’t involved with Occupy. She wasn’t a reporter. She never worked for NPR. Yet, she was fired from WDAV (and then rehired). She was also fired from Soundprint, and as far as we know, still out of that gig.
Soundprint is who you want to bitch at now.
If the Tea Party has anything to teach, it’s that outrage, emails, and phone calls can get results.
@Dougerhead: You forgot pretentious.
But she was read NPR’s employee guidelines when she was fired. NPR sent those guidelines over to her company with expectations that she’d be shitcanned.
Probably left out because it seemed rather obvious.
I stopped with my anti-NPR jihad after they stopped having Williams on, I just think we have to scream every time something like this happens.
Angry net lawyer is angry.
That is an incorrect, contrafactual statement, actually. A columnist who makes her viewpoint and biases clear up front can actually do this. The whole point of a columnist is to inject their personality and biases into a story and interpret the event.
The problem is that very few people actually donate directly to NPR. They donate to their local public radio station, where the NPR news you object to makes up a minority of the total programming. Most of it is locally produced news and comment programs, NPR culture and entertainment, and stuff from other providers including APM, BBC, and al Jazeera. People who really like Car Talk and Prairie Home Companion or their public radio station’s local coverage are going to keep giving to their local station even though some of that money winds up in the hands of Cokie Roberts.
OT guys, but I just watched the Countdown segment on Marco Rubio and his “embellishment” of his parents exile from Cuba. Do ya’ll think this “revelation” about Marco Rubio lying about his parents fleeing Cuba due to Fidel Castro is as big a deal as some think it is?
Isn’t this just like Hilary and her Bosnia story? I think he could be excused for being off by a few months, but 2 1/2 years off??? No way. That’s outright lying isn’t it?
I would love to hear from any actually Floridians about it?
From a Yahoo story earlier this morning, NPR definitely had a hand in her firing:
All hail bias-free burnspbesq, well known for his freedom from bias
welp that was fast, nevermind, I see his hometown paper seem to be defending him against WashPo.
If you mean, most people don’t know what the hell you’re talking about when you bring it up and will never care about it, then yes, it’s just like that
Sounds a lot like something you could say about the
Oh, of fucking course.
Let’s get this straight: Lisa Simeone worked for two programs: “Soundprint” (based out of Laurel, MD and perhaps originated at WUMA) and “Opera Today”, which originates at WDAV. “Soundprint” appears to have fired Simeone Wednesday night. NPR at that time sent out a panicked memo last night that looked as though they were leaning on WDAV, too. But it’s not clear to me that WDAV fired and the re-hired here. It looks as though they stood by her from the beginning.
NPR claims deniability, but it’s non-response suggests that its fingers were over her firing from Soundprint. I would suggest people contact their local public broadcasting station and ask them to consider dropping “Soundprint” from their line-up.
This, by the way, sounds like the perfect story for Brooke Gladstone’s NPR program On The Media. I wonder whether she’ll touch it…
NPR employs despicable fucktwat Mara Liasson.
I won’t hold my breath for burnspbesq to acknowledge batgirl’s evidence that NPR did play a role in this. I’m not really bothered that sanctimonious pricks can never admit to being wrong. What bothers me is that they either can’t see it or won’t own up to it.
I’ll be the first to stand corrected if given evidence to the contrary.
I like the program, and I think there’s a chance she will. But the show is released sometime on Friday, so I assume its shape was determined before this story broke (no way the recordings aren’t at least mostly done by late Thursday) – it will be a week before they can respond, in all likelihood, and this story may have faded away by then.
If you’d like to contact Soundprint directly, their telephone number is (301) 317-0110. Executive Producer Moira Rankin’s extension is #216.
She does occasionally, to her credit.
But then again, sometime not.
Will listen this weekend with interest.
Edit: Sorry, should have done a block quote, I’m referring to Gladstone’s On the Media. It airs Su day afternoon in my market.
Gilles de Rais
This is another in a long list of reasons why I no longer listen to or support NPR.
Liberal radio? Not for well over a decade.
Even the liberal New Republic compares Rachel Maddow to Fox News: http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/96477/deadline-rachel-maddow-overrated-uganda-gay-crime .
Gotta say though, good on Jonathan Chait.
@burnspbesq: Thank you, Francis Bacon.
I’m a little peeved by all the whining in this thread about how NPR isn’t Liberal enough, and is unworthy of our support. Sure enough, it isn’t Liberal. But NPR is the best broadcast news coverage in the country, even after discounting for its utter pusillanimity whenever nation politics is at issue. While it’s not Liberal, it’s not nearly as conservative as any other major broadcast news source (no, I don’t count Pacifica as “major”). Even if I extend this to print news, all major newspapers run the gamut from pusillanimous to conservative, and of them only The New York Times, which is equally pusillanimous, does a similar amount of original reporting. Also, its subscribing stations often serve to air the issues affecting their local communities rather well.
At the very least, I hope everyone in this thread who is proudly withholding their contributions to their local NPR-subscribing station in protest has found some other worthy recipient – Democracy Now or Free Speech News, for example.
I have whined about that before, but I am not whining about it here. I just think this woman should not have been fired.
Are you not familiar with the classics?
During a brief cease fire agreement in the War for the Mind of America, conservative factions and the liberal opposition discovered that the Mind had flatlined.
I go through this every time the local NPR affiliate holds a pledge drive/membership renewal/begathon. I love the music programming (and Car Talk, Wait Wait, Fresh Air, etc.) (shit, even Prairie Home Companion) (not to mention This American Life) but all too often get profoundly pissed at NPR corporate and the NPR programs such as ATC and Morning Edition. Still: it’s orders of magnitude better than whatever’s in second place. So yeah, I’ll keep pledging and donating and carrying stuff around in my WABE tote bag, because I don’t want to imagine what life would be like were the station to go silent.
(Anyone else old enough to remember when NPR’s bumper sticker slogan was THE RARE MEDIUM THAT’S WELL DONE? I had that on my car for years and years.)
@eemom: While I was listening to NPR with a friend, he asked me who this Mara Liasson person was. I told him she was NPR’s political reporter, and he responded: “That was their political reporter?! I thought she was a Republican spokesperson of some kind.”
OT.. Had a person explain why unearned income should not be taxed and why earned income should.. it has something to do with earned income has to do with actual work. Yes I screamed, Yes I swore and Yes I said look outside and tell the person doing your yard work sucker………..
I will continue to donate to NPR/local affiliate. The reason is that if you don’t participate you have no influence. So just cutting off organizations that you don’t see eye to eye to is going the wrong way. They’ll seek out money from other places if they have to.
Frankly, NPR is still better than a lot of other places. When NOLA was no longer news, NPR was still there covering it. The shows they put on expands my mind every time. Maybe the political part sucks, but there are many other shows out there that are good and I’m not going to throw the baby wtih the bathwater.
If programming is not going the way you want, then you should get more involved not less. Make your voice heard.
OT.. the same person also complained about her father’s caretaker who is a relative using medicaid.. Yes I did point out that didn’t seem likely with what they were paying her.. Well guess what..they are paying her gifts. I did point out then don’t bitch about someone using medicaid when you are abusing the system……..
it must be nice to be rich and bitch about those you encourage to abuse the system.
@geg6: Don’t forget their employment of Bobo.
@smelter rat: Is there something about “she’s not a reporter” that you don’t understand?
Jay in Oregon
I find it helps if you translate wingnut cries of “liberal media!” to mean “media that reports stories I don’t like!” Even they don’t know what it means any more.
I wish I could find the story of the whackadoodle who claimed that Fox News was part of the “liberal media”. Fucking unreal.
This highlights a key problem with the public arm of the “So-Called Liberal Media”, which is that NPR is completely neutured thanks to its commitment to “quality” and “centrism” and “balance” and “avoidance of conflicts of interests”. Whereas someone like Glenn Beck can simultaneously host a TV show on Fox News as a “journalist”, and simultaneously promote, address and organize Teahadist rallies. Glenn Beck was fired for lousy ratings, not conflicts of interest.
In other words: Fox is hyper-partisan, totally unconcerned with “ethics”, and untroubled by conflicts of interest. NPR is a whipped little bitch afraid to offend even the smallest constituency for fear of being called “biased.” And I’m afraid to say publicly funded broadcasting is incredibly vulnerable to this sort of pressure. NPR has unilaterally disarmed itself — but then again, as something largely dependent on government funding and wealthy corporate philanthropy (with the occasional contribution from a viewer like you) what would you expect?
@Dougerhead: If that’s the case, you better get out more.
Hell, he can do better without even leaving the blog.
@Cain: Influence? your deluding yourself. Once upon a time when most public radio people were donating their time, yes,but today when those same people, at least in my neck of the woods have the highest paid jobs to be had here,not gonna happen. They all toe the line or they are gone like a cool fart.
Somebody in radio, especially *public* radio has the highest paid job around? Do you have any idea how little money people in radio make? Do you live in Mali?
Example? I know who you have your beefs with and none of them even come close.
we’re talkin holier than thou and sanctimonious?
Good God, man, they are legion. The brigade of Obama-hating purity trolls, from Uncle Suckhead on down? The prissy schoolmarms chiding Cole for his drinking habits? Nevgu-fred-derf or whoever he is today with his daily “why aren’t you posting about THIS” screeching? Lil Suzy-Q and her “I get to be as much of an asshole as I want as long as I don’t use the word fat, and besides I’m fucking awesome” prattling?
I don’t see “why aren’t you posting about this” as sanctimonious, just annoying.
I wish you could travel back in time to hear me and my mates argue over what is and what is not “punk rock.” Sactimony so thick it’d make your eyes water.
Not that we were at all wrong in our verdicts.
NPR has had an overtly political stance on national politics since W begin his tinkering with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s board of directors. Their international reporting is still good, as is their reporting, very generally, on other national stories. Once their coverage turns to national political issues, it’s game over.
I challenge anyone to listen to NPR’s coverage of national politics and not witness the following storyline:
– Statement of audacious claim against the Obama Administration, straight out of the GOP’s/ right-wing think tank’s press handout.
– Brief third person acknowledgement that the Obama Administration disavows such claims.
– Analysis of this issue by two conservative Republicans from Capitol Hill and a third view from a conservative blogger/ writer/ editor or a disaffected Democrat (Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, etc.)
This pattern’s repetition is uncanny.
@Dougerhead: Yeah, but you gotta admit ‘Uncle Suckhead’ and Co. pretty much crank the sanctamounius dial up to 11 and break the knob off on a pretty regular basis.
And even excusing that, the ‘OMG Cole you drinky-drinky-drunk’ shit is just fucking absurd.
@smelter rat: She’s not a journalist. She’s an opera show host for heaven’s sake.
@MikeJ: I have friends at all levels of public radio in Hancock county Maine, and their earnings are a matter of public record.
Geez, npr has announced that it will no longer carry “World of Opera.”
@donr: This is correct. WDAV and Davidson College (of which I am a former employee and an alumnus, respectively) reviewed the contract under which they provided “World of Opera” to NPR, concluded that they were in 100% compliance with every stipulation, and politely told NPR to fuck off.
NPR responded by dropping the program.
WDAV and Davidson College responded by announcing that they would continue to produce the program and would handle nationwide syndication themselves (effective 11/11/11, according to station general manager Scott Nolan’s email to me).
It’s a good day to be a Wildcat. Sucks to be NPR.
@Warren Terra: How’s this position, then: This isn’t a question of politics. This is a question of NPR attempting to assert control over how Lisa Simeone conducted herself in her free time when it had no legal or contractual right to do so. Simeone wasn’t an NPR employee and wasn’t even an NPR freelancer (she freelanced for two intermediaries). It’s like NPR trying to tell me how I can spend my free time.
And the fact that NPR decided to drop “World of Opera” after WDAV and Davidson College refused to interfere with her life outside “World of Opera” is just petulant, childish bullshit. There’s no legal, moral, ethical, journalistic or PR upside to that decision for the network. It was spite, pure and simple.