NPR gets flak for what Liasson said on FOX

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When NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson compared the government’s Cash for Clunkers program to a “mini-Katrina,” her poorly chosen words violated NPR’s ethics policy, according to NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard. Liasson was wearing her FOX News punditry hat on Aug. 4 when she made the remarks on live television (video here), but e-mails complaining about the inappropriate comparison poured into Shepard’s office at NPR. “I said something really stupid, which I regret,” a contrite Liasson tells Shepard in her latest column. If Liasson had said something this regrettable on NPR, the network’s journalists would have re-recorded the interview and apologized on-air for the misstatement, says Ellen Weiss, senior v.p. of NPR News. In appearing on live media or other events, NPR reporters occasionally misspeak, Weiss adds. “But a single episode of misspeaking can be forgiven, a systemic problem cannot. Mara has acknowledged that what she said was wrong.”