State-funded NPR announced its exit from the social media platform after a new label highlighted its link to the government
US state-affiliated outlet NPR decided to drop its Twitter account in protest after the social media platform affixed a label highlighting its reliance on government funding.
The decision to stop posting new content to Twitter will protect NPR’s credibility and its ability to produce journalism without “a shadow of negativity”, exit quoted its chief executive, John Lansing, on Wednesday. “The inconvenience, whatever it is, does not change this fact. I would never take our content where it would jeopardize our credibility.
The row began last week, when Twitter began labeling NPR as “U.S. State-Affiliated Media.” After the broadcaster pushed back, arguing that labeling it the same as state-affiliated media organizations from countries such as Russia and China was “unacceptable,” Twitter has revised the disclaimer for “government funded media”. Nonetheless, Elon Musk defended the original decision, saying NPR fits the definition of state-affiliated media.
NPR derives nearly 10% of its revenue from federal, state and local governments, US watchdog group says InfluenceWatch. Much of that money is paid indirectly, through grants to local radio stations that license NPR content. “Federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American public, and its continuation is essential for stations and program producers, including NPR,” says the outlet on its own website.
As Fox News host Tucker Carlson points out, NPR underplays its government funding to the public while sending lobbyists to Washington every year to demand more taxpayer dollars. “NPR is Washington’s permanent radio station”, Carlson said last week. “It’s who pays, it’s who benefits.”
NPR has been accused of promoting establishment talking points and helping to manipulate the 2020 presidential election. Just weeks before voters head to the polls, the outlet joined in other legacy media organizations to initially ignore the New York Post’s bombshell report of alleged influence peddling by then-candidate Joe Biden’s family. A week later, NPR editor Terence Samuel defended decisionsaying, “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that aren’t really stories, and we don’t want to waste listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are pure distractions.”
Samuel was then promoted to editor. The messages on which the Post’s scoop was based, derived from an abandoned laptop by Biden’s son, were later confirmed to be genuine by outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post.
In recent weeks, NPR has published reports promoting gun ownership by transgender people and claiming that male athletes have no physical advantage over their female counterparts. The broadcaster later released a correctionrecognizing that scientific research shows that testosterone levels affect athletic performance.