NPR host is Occupy DC spokeswoman

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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National Public Radio host Lisa Simeone appears to be breaking the taxpayer-subsidized network’s ethics rules by acting as a spokeswoman for Occupy D.C. group “October 2011,” which is currently “occupying” Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.

Simeone hosts NPR’s nationally syndicated “World of Opera” program and “SoundPrint,” a program that airs on NPR’s WAMU affiliate at American University in Washington, D.C.

When Roll Call asked Simeone about the conflict of interest and the apparent ethics violations, she replied, “Well, I work in radio still, but this is totally different” because she says she’s a “freelancer.” (SEE ALSO: NPR executives caught on tape bashing conservatives and tea party, touting liberals)

NPR’s ethics policy for journalists forbids them from “engag[ing] in public relations work, paid or unpaid.”

The code allows for exceptions in cases such as “certain volunteer nonprofit, nonpartisan activities, such as participating in the work of a church, synagogue or other institution of worship, or a charitable organization, so long as this would not conflict with the interests of NPR in reporting on activities related to that institution or organization.”

Simeone has appeared in several news stories in recent weeks as a spokeswoman for the left-wing anti-capitalists protests. “Our main focus is that we are against corporatism and militarism,” the radio host said, adding that the protesters plan to “occupy” Freedom Plaza for a long time.

“I do know whenever it ends, we are not going to stop acts of civil disobedience, and various acts of civil resistance and organization,” Simeone said. “That will be done in the myriad of ways around the country, and again, this is not the end, but only the beginning.”

It’s unclear if NPR or WAMU granted Simeone an “exception” from its ethics policy to participate in, and advocate for, the Occupy protests. If neither entity did grant her an exception, it’s unclear what, if anything, NPR and WAMU plan to do about her ethics violation.

Neither WAMU news director Jim Asendio nor NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher returned The Daily Caller’s requests for comment on the issue.

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