Twitter attached a “state-affiliated media” label to National Public Radio’s official account on Tuesday — a designation that is also given to government-controlled outlets such as Russia Today or China’s Xinhua news agency.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk highlighted the move in a Wednesday tweet, sharing language in Twitter’s guidelines that defines “state-affiliated media” as “outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution.”
“Seems accurate,” Musk tweeted.
An NPR spokesperson told The Post that the network has reached out to Twitter in an effort to get the label removed.
“This must be a mistake as it contradicts Twitter’s own guidelines,” an NPR spokesperson told The Post.
John Lansing, NPR’s president and CEO, issued a statement which read: “We were disturbed to see last night that Twitter has labeled NPR as ‘state-affiliated media,’ a description that, per Twitter’s own guidelines, does not apply to NPR.”
“NPR and our Member stations are supported by millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide,” Lansing said. “NPR stands for freedom of speech and holding the powerful accountable.”
David Gura, an NPR correspondent, posted a side-by-side comparison of Twitter’s policy which was apparently edited to remove mention of NPR as a media entity that has “editorial independence.”
“Yesterday, @elonmusk’s Twitter labeled NPR ‘state-affiliated media,’ even though the company’s own policy stated the organization shouldn’t be labeled as such because it has editorial independence,” Gura tweeted.
“Hours later, Twitter removed the reference to NPR in the policy.”
“It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way.”
NPR current and former personnel slammed the decision. Jeff Brady, the organization’s climate and energy correspondent, tweeted: “Uh, no…”
“NPR’s newsroom is an absolutely free and independent newsroom; always has been. This label is a LIE and an insult.”
Ashley Westerman, a former producer for NPR, blasted Twitter’s label as “wholly inaccurate and untruthful.”
“NPR gets LESS THAN 2% of its funding from grants through the federal government,” Westerman tweeted.
According to NPR’s website, the two largest sources of revenue are corporate sponsorships and fees paid by members and subscribers.
In fiscal year 2020, NPR said that 8% of its revenues were from federal appropriation by way of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — the government-run nonprofit which was created by the Johnson administration in 1967.
NPR said that 5% of its revenue was derived from “federal, state, and local governments.”
“Federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American public and its continuation is critical for both stations and program producers, including NPR,” according to the network.
“On average, less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from CPB and federal agencies and departments.”
The network added: “Elimination of federal funding would result in fewer programs, less journalism — especially local journalism — and eventually the loss of public radio stations, particularly in rural and economically distressed communities.”
NPR, which was launched in 1971, has been widely criticized for its perceived liberal bias.
Last year, it broke its 33-year tradition of reading the text of the Declaration of Independence on July 4 — instead opting to devote a lengthy segment on Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with his slave, Sally Hemmings.
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