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Snippet: NPR and PBS Quit Twitter After Being Falsely Labeled As ‘State-Affiliated Media’ ☇

Shared on April 13, 2023

David Folkenflik on NPR’s Morning Edition:

NPR will no longer post fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds, becoming the first major news organization to go silent on the social media platform. In explaining its decision, NPR cited Twitter’s decision to first label the network “state-affiliated media,” the same term it uses for propaganda outlets in Russia, China and other autocratic countries.

The decision by Twitter last week took the public radio network off guard. When queried by NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn, Twitter owner Elon Musk asked how NPR functioned. Musk allowed that he might have gotten it wrong.

Twitter then revised its label on NPR’s account to “government-funded media.” The news organization says that is inaccurate and misleading, given that NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. It receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Sarah Fischer for Axios noted that PBS joined in, too:

PBS has not tweeted from its main Twitter handle since April 8, following Elon Musk’s decision to label the outlet “government-funded news.” […]

“We did stop tweeting at that point as soon as we discovered it,” a PBS spokesperson confirmed. “We have no plans to resume tweeting.” The label was placed only on PBS’ main Twitter handle, not any of the accounts affiliated with PBS, like its local stations or individual shows.

It doesn’t surprise me that the current Twitter regime has no idea how NPR and PBS are actually funded, considering that it seems that guy in charge of Twitter might actually be bad with money. Everyone knows that PBS is funded by Viewers Like You. Joking aside, I had the opportunity to do some work with the local PBS and NPR stations in college and it gave me an appreciation for how they fit into the media landscape. Due to consolidation and corporate overlords making nationwide decisions, most TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, and other media outlets might not be able to individually leave Twitter, but having NPR and PBS step away is a good first step in weaning the media off the site.

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