Friday, October 21, 2011

An exemplar extraordinaire--please join me in saying Brava! Bravissima! for Lisa Simeone

Greetings from the warm wilds of Florida's Gulf coast, where exhausted mothers can stop talking (or writing) for weeks before someone notices, and of course all hell (and other great stories) will break loose in the meantime, and someone will eventually go, Er, anyone heard from D in a while?

I know, I know. I am a horrible blogger sometimes--my only excuse is that blogging must necessarily come after all the other concerns, and once those are addressed, I am often too wiped-out to scribble out as much as a grocery list (not that I do those, actually--I'm an incorrigible fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants person). So, personal matters, health matters, and a dire lack of energy on my part have occupied my life and consciousness even as real live human beings have occupied our imagination and city squares, demanding that our leaders pay attention to the vast majority of us--and our serious problems, which include (but are not limited to) the ongoing unemployment disaster, the foreclosure crisis, and the dramatically escalating costs of healthcare in the face of an insurance system that simply does not work.

I have of course been keeping up with the efforts of numerous friends who've participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement (and its many offshoots) and the October2011/Stop the Machine protests, particularly the work of friend and former Cogitamus co-blogger Lisa Simeone.

It will come as no surprise that I support Lisa's work and that I admire her. Tremendously. She has done what so few of us are able or willing to do: put her money where her mouth is, so to speak. Like me, Lisa was appalled at the Wikileaks revelations (re: Afghanistan brutalities) and disgusted at the unconstitutional treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier responsible for sending the government-embarrassing data to Wikileaks and who remains in prison, without formal charges, to this day.

Unlike me, all safe and comfy in my Florida home with my family and computer, Lisa marched at the White House and got arrested for her efforts.

She participated in the DC protests, keeping us up to date on the demonstrations and police activities alike.

Then, a horrible e-mail: Soundprint had fired her.

Simeone said she was fired Wednesday night by Moira Rankin, executive producer of “Soundprint,” a weekly documentary program that Simeone hosts. The program, independently produced, airs on NPR stations around the country.

“It was bewildering,” Simeone said. “She started by quoting all these reports from the Daily Caller, and I didn’t know even what that was. She said, ‘Are you involved with this organization [October 2011]? I said, ‘Yes, I was one of about 50 people who helped put this together.’ She said, ‘That’s a problem because I’m getting all these calls. I think you violated the NPR code of ethics.’”

“I said, ‘Can you explain how?’” Simeone went on. “Scott Simon writes Op-Eds. Cokie Roberts [is paid] tens of thousand of dollars in fees talking to business groups. Mara Liaason* goes on Fox TV to express her opinions. They all report on the issues — which I don’t do. I finally said, ‘Are you firing me?’ She said yes.”

But Lisa--a freelance radio host and writer, it should be noted, not an employee of NPR--was not buying it.

“I’ve never hid my views and my opinions have never leeched into what I do on NPR. People can listen to all my shows. When I was talking about ‘Tosca,’ I could have talked about the relevance today of Cavaradossi, the tenor who is a political prisoner and who is tortured. I didn’t mention it. It’s a show about opera, for God’s sake.”

There were talks. I wish I had been a fly on the wall. All I know is this: Lisa will continue hosting NPR's World of Opera.

And I hope to hell that a big cable channel will see her and hear her and offer her a plum position reporting on the arts, compensation to include unlimited use of the company's private jets.

Because Lisa--multilingual world traveler and connoisseur of beauty Lisa--has completely stopped flying in protest of the TSA's unconstitutional searches and seizures.

(Lisa, let me know if this comes to pass--I'll go with you to Paris or Palermo. Have vintage suits and old-school round hatboxes and hard-sided suitcases; will travel.)

And thanks also to Sir Charles for writing about this at the Cogblog.

Finally, an early Christmas present for Tucker Carlson:

* Edited to properly report Liaason's name, which Salon had misspelled. -- DNT


  1. Yes, Bravissima for Lisa -- I will seek her out on PBS because of your post. Love the bow tie. Is it a vintage find? I suspect it has an amusing history.

  2. I'm glad to see you're back, D.

    Fla-duh needs all the eloquence it can manage, and it's sorely lacking at the mo', IMHO.