Earlier this week, Politico ran a story describing how executives at National Public Radio had pressured veteran political correspondent Mara Liasson to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News. Now, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard is responding to Politico’s story as well as to the slew of NPR listeners who wrote emails to the network, defending Liasson’s right to appear on the cable news channel.
In a blog post, Shepard brushes off the speculation, writing, “Despite misinformation on the Internet, NPR has not ordered her to stop.” She goes on to comment on the fact that the network is accustomed to receiving listener complaints with the opposite point-of-view. “It appears ironic,” she writes, “that some folks are coming to Liasson’s rescue and defending her right to appear on Fox when I have hundreds of previous emails suggesting she shouldn’t.”
Since NPR is a publicly funded organization that receives money via government grants and programs, Shepard looked to quell any speculation over White House involvement in the Liasson situation. In her post, she quotes Dick Meyer, NPR’s executive editor for news, who states, “NPR has not had any communication of any kind with the White House regarding the status of any of our reporters or their work for anyone outside of NPR.”