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Monday, October 31, 2011

Public radio workers, leave your free speech rights at the door

Be photographed carrying a sign at a rally, and you won't even be allowed to have an opera show.

Comments (9)

Is this kind of action prohibited in her employer's ethics requirements? Chances are yes.

Except that Ms. Simeone has long been an activist and was arrested just this past March at an anti-war demonstration in front of the White House. No one seemed to care about that.

From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2011/10/20/radio-host-lisa-simeone-u_n_1022459.html

Officials at WDAV radio in Davidson, North Carolina, who produce "World Of Opera," have resisted the pressure [from NPR] to fire Simeone. WDAV's Lisa Gray wrote that Simeone "is an independent contractor of WDAV Classical Public Radio" and that her "activities outside of this job are not in violation of any of WDAV's employee codes and have had no effect on her job performance ...

I guess maybe those masks aren't necessarily such a bad idea after all.

Bit surprising since the local outlet keeps referring to our group downtown as "occupy volunteers".

Took me few seconds this morning to determine who Michael Moore is coming to meet.

One might think that NPR is swinging to the right. Not so, they are just pussies. Terrified and having to back up their positions in any substantive way.

So much for freedom of speech.
I was always under the impression that whatever one did outside of woking hours was not any of the employer's business, as long as there was no negative impact on the job; i.e. one could drink alcohol all weekend, but don't be drunk on Monday morning.
And any and all politics was to be left at the door to the job.
Sounds like NPR is getting a bit too Stalinist for my taste.

Re: "I was always under the impression that whatever one did outside of woking [sic] hours was not any of the employer's business"

portland native,

Depends on your employer. If you are a federal employee or a state or local government employee whose salary includes federal funds, the Hatch Act of 1939 continues to restrict you from many overtly political activities:

Re: "you won't even be allowed to have an opera show"

As Ex-bartender's HuffPo link tells us, Ms Simeone can have the opera show but NPR -- a primary outlet for the propaganda arm of the British government -- will not distribute it:

"UPDATE, 10.22: NPR, having failed to pressure WDAV into getting rid of Lisa Simeone as the host of 'World Of Opera,' has gone ahead and done the next best thing. The AP reports that NPR 'will no longer distribute the member station-produced program "World of Opera" to about 60 stations across the country.'"

Passion, btw, is essential for opera. Political opinion is not excluded. Consider "Tosca," "Fidelio," and "Nixon in China." Perhaps at this very moment someone is composing an opera based on Occupy Wall St.

A lot of people misunderstand what the Bill of Rights says, I'm afraid. Ms. Simeone exercised her First Amendment rights and good on her if she felt strongly about it. No one attempted to prevent her from doing so, and Congress certainly didn't pass a law saying she couldn't. Everyone else is as free to judge her based on her attendance at the event as she was to attend it.

I agree that NPR is mostly running scared because they are less than 18 months from having their federal subsidy permanently stripped.

You can say whatever you want and in this "at-will" employment world your boss can let you go for no reason. But when someone else puts the squeeze on your boss it is nice to know who is pulling the strings.

When the Simione affair became public I sent a polite request to the NPR ombudsman for a clarification of cause and effect and timeline. My bulk-reply e-mail was a link to yet another obfuscation and time warp puff piece that did not address (much less answer) my specific questions. Feh!

Ray Kroc left NPR some money, but the Hamburglar is running the shop. Locally, OPB will bury "disturbing" stories,such as one recently on Frontline, weeks after the national air date and in the wee hours instead of prime time. With no notice of the change in advance. And, of course, you're free to not watch.

Luckily my favorite public broadcasting TV and radio programs are available online from their originators -- WBEZ, WNYC, WBUR, WGBH -- and I can support them directly.

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