NPR fires Opera host for anti-war protests

Lisa Simeone (Photo from http://www.npr.org)
Because one radio host is concerned that America is going baroque over its massive military budget, NPR has ditched the DJ behind its World of Opera program due to her affiliation with a political protest in Washington DC.

Lisa Simeone has lost her gig with NPR World of Opera — not for bad mouthing baritones or for an angry rant on arias — but for taking part in the ongoing October 2011/Stop the Machine protests in DC that aims to draw attention to the continuing funding by Washington of the war in Afghanistan, which is now in its tenth year.

A freelance host not employed by NPR, Simeone thinks that the radio bosses have turned the tune she’s been singing into something much bigger than it really is.

“I don’t cover politics. … What is NPR afraid I’ll do — insert a seditious comment into a synopsis of Madame Butterfly?” she tells the War Is a Crime blog.

National Public Radio issued a memo to address Simeone’s affiliation with the protest, writing “We of course take this issue very seriously.” NPR is the distributor of the World of Opera gig, which is actually produced by WDAV, an affiliate based out of North Carolina.

After the memo was circulated, Simeone said she was shortly thereafter terminated from her position as the host of Soundprint, another program that NPR does not produce but distributes to its affiliates. Simeone says that Soundprint Media Center Inc., which produces the show, read her NPR’s code of ethics before firing her.

NPR insists that their code of ethics implies to anyone working on any show they carry, and that Simeone is neither an NPR employee nor did they pressure Soundprint into firing her.

In response, WDAV says that they are trying to find a solution to the situation.

Since the October 2011 movement began more than two weeks ago, protesters have occupied Washington’s Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue to demonstrate their distaste for the administration’s handling of the ongoing war. Mere blocks away, protesters with Occupy DC, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, are engaged in an occupation of their own.