NPR ombudsman clarifies opera host sacking

NPR ombudsman clarifies opera host sacking


norman lebrecht

October 27, 2011

I have been sent a statement by the NPR ombudsman that fudges charges of capitulation to the political right by stating that Lisa Simeone, who has been dropped by the network for taking part in an anti-capitalist demo, is not an NPR employee.  He then goes on to cite the NPR employee code:

“NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them.”

But, hey, Lisa’s not an employee so she was not subject to this strict code. Nor is she a journalist. She’s just an opera host. So why was Lisa dropped by NPR for taking a hike to the Occupy DC demo?

The ombudsman has taken the ostrich position.


  • The Occupy Wall Street protesters are not anti-capitalist. They are asking for reforms to capitalism. The OWS manifesto is here:

  • Michael P Scott says:

    Was the ombudsperson — politically correct — named Alice? Was her address “Wonderland?” That’s the logic that’s being used.


  • Tom Moore says:

    The only language that NPR understands is money. What will make an impact is people who cease to donate, and tell them why.

  • Bill says:

    NPR = National Pushover Radio

  • Don Drewecki says:

    Actually, Norman, this may also be yet another excuse for NPR to jettison classical music altogether. It was ten years ago that Ben Roe (now with WGBH/Boston) sacked a number of NPR’s classical staffers, including Steve Zakar, who was my liaison for getting onto “Performance Today” numerous live concert performances from the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY, and Union College’s Memorial Chapel in nearby Schenectady. Zakar really knew his stuff.

    Then, a few years later, NPR sold off the “Performance Today” program to American Public Media in Minnesota, which has cut it further back and dumbed it down even more.

    NPR is now essentially just a center-right talk service to public radio stations in the United States.