Did 'Occupy Wall Street' Protests Cost Lisa Simeone Her Job?

Reporter Lisa Simeone has been fired from NPR for participating in protests in Washington, DC this week.

Occupy Wall Street, which began in New York City Sept. 17, has spread across the nation in demonstrations against the greed and corruption of corporate America.

According to The Associated Press, Simeone was fired from her job for participating in the movement Thursday.

Speaking to AP, Simeone claimed that the October protest she attended was not part of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, though it shared similar principles.

The host added that news is not her area of expertise, so if she had participated in Occupy Wall Street, it should not affect her work.

“I don’t cover news. In none of the shows that I do, do I cover the news,” said Simeone. “What is NPR afraid I’ll do? Insert seditious comment into a synopsis of “Madame Butterfly?”

A freelance reporter, Simeone hosted “Soundprint,” a documentary show by NPR and affiliates, as well as “World of Opera.”

President of Soundprint Media Center Inc., Moira Rankin, said, “In my mind, it’s fine if you want to be a leader of an organized protest movement, but you can’t also be in a journalistic role.”

According to the company, it did not pressure the radio show “Soundprint” to fire Simeone because the show is independent.

Rankin continued, “You can’t be the host of a journalism program and plead that you are different than the reporter who is going to come on a minute after you introduce the program.”

NPR’s Code of Ethics stated that NPR journalists are prohibited from participating in marches or rallies about issues covered by the network. The code also noted that some provisions may not concern outside contributors and even named a freelancer who covered the arts as an example.

NPR spokesperson Anna Christopher confirmed that the code of ethics does apply to programs such as “World of Opera,” and said that Simeone “represents NPR and public radio.”

Further defending herself, Simeone said, “I have never brought any of my political activities into my work for ‘Soundprint,’ ‘NPR World of Opera,’ or the Chicago Symphonies Orchestra series.”

With over 25 years of experience in radio and television, Simeone has also done voice-overs, narrations, and has hosted for the Discovery Channel and PBS, according to her profile which remains on NPR’s website.

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