Twitter labels NPR as ‘state-affiliated media’

By Jack Phillips

On Tuesday, National Public Radio (NPR) was listed by Twitter as a “US government media outlet,” drawing the ire of the company’s employees.

Twitter owner Elon Musk weighted on the note, writing that it “seems right” to call NPR a “state affiliate.” He pointed to Twitter’s Help Center, which noted that “state-owned media is defined as media where the state controls editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressure, and/or control over production and distribution.”

And, according to Twitter’s guidelines, “Government-affiliated account tags provide additional context about accounts controlled by certain government officials, government-affiliated media, and individuals associated with those organizations.”

But staff at NPR, which critics say exhibits a far-left bias in its reporting, suggested Tuesday that the outlet should not be labeled as such. Climate and energy reporter Jeff Brady simply dismissed the label writing“Oh, no.”

“Labeling NPR state media is completely inaccurate and untrue. NPR receives less than 2 percent of its funding from grants from the federal government. NPR Newsroom is a completely free and independent newsroom. has always been. This label is a LIE and an insult.” wrote NPR’s Ashley Westerman.

The amount of taxpayer funding NPR actually receives has been the subject of debate for years. Some argue that much of it is hidden in the form of grants, and estimates suggest that the broadcaster’s budget is much higher than the often announced 2 percent.

In 2015, Mark Browning, an analyst at the conservative website American Thinker, claimed that the broadcaster’s budget is more than 25 percent funded by taxpayers, while member stations receive more than 40 percent public funds. At the time, an NPR spokesperson disputed Browning’s calculations, which he said were based on publicly available data.

National Public Radio (NPR) was listed as a “US government-affiliated media outlet” by Twitter on Tuesday. (Tweet screenshot via The Epoch Times)

In the 1970s and 1980s, NPR was primarily funded by the US government, although there was a move to change its financial structure decades earlier. According to the watchdog website Influence Watch, NPR receives about 1 percent of its annual budget from the federal government, while about 10 percent of its budget comes “indirectly” from state, federal and local governments.

NPR’s David Gura tweeted two screenshots saying NPR was one time Listed alongside the BBC as a publicly funded organisation, it is not defined as a government affiliate as it is editorially independent from the US government.

Musk’s Twitter has called NPR a “state-affiliated media outlet,” even though the company’s own policy states that the organization should not be labeled as such because it has editorial independence (left). Hours later, Twitter removed the NPR link in politics (right),” he wrote.

Under previous ownership, Twitter in 2020 labeled a number of accounts as state-affiliated, including Russian state media outlets such as RT and Sputnik News, as well as Chinese Communist Party mouthpieces such as New China” news agency and Xinhua. Journalists of those media also received those names.

“When it comes to conversations with government and state-affiliated media accounts on Twitter, we’re helping to make the experience more transparent,” Twitter said. wrote in August 2020, adding that the platform does not allow state-affiliated outlets to advertise. “We will now use two different profile tags for these types of accounts so you can easily identify them and their tweets.”

NPR has not yet responded to a request for comment on the appointment. When reached for further comment via email on Tuesday, Twitter’s media account responded with an automated emoji.

The broadcaster’s CEO, John Lansing, sharply criticized Twitter’s move on Tuesday evening.

“We were disturbed to see that Twitter last night labeled NPR as a ‘state-affiliated media outlet,’ a description that, according to Twitter’s own guidelines, does not apply to NPR,” Lansing said. wrote. “NPR and our member stations are supported by millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide. NPR stands for free speech and holding the powerful accountable. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way. An active, vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy.”

Also this week, Twitter changed its logo to a “Doge” meme on Monday, sending the associated cryptocurrency known as “Dogecoin” soaring. It is not clear why the change was made.

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