Twitter Labels NPR “State Affiliated Media”; Elon Musk Says “Seems Accurate”

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Since Elon Musk purchased Twitter last fall, he has been shaking up the previously liberal social media site with free speech and openness, as well as finetuning the blue checkmark system of validating accounts.

Musk’s Twitter is also defining accounts, and some are applauding that initiative while others are incensed. Musk, in his habitual brevity, has responded by affirming the decisions labeling accounts.

In 2020, Twitter made the move to label many accounts, including Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik, as well as reporters working for them as ‘state-affiliated media’, and said it would prevent tweets from those accounts appearing on the home screen, in notifications, or in searches.

Twitter claimed it was doing this “to make the experience more transparent,” adding that “we don’t let state-affiliated media accounts advertise on Twitter. We’ll also no longer include them or their Tweets in recommendations, as we continue to support a free and independent press.”

NPR was not included in those designations at the time, but now Twitter has labeled NPR as well, Summit News reports.

Twitter placed a label on NPR’s account Tuesday describing the outlet as “State-affiliated media,” with owner Elon Musk commenting that the description “seems accurate.”

Twitter’s guidelines state “Labels on state-affiliated accounts provide additional context about accounts that are controlled by certain official representatives of governments, state-affiliated media entities, and individuals associated with those entities.

Musk quoted Twitter’s Help Center, which notes that “State-affiliated media is defined 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.”

This labeling has not gone unnoticed by some. Summit News noted that “NPR comrades, such as Climate & Energy Correspondent Jeff Brady, were annoyed”:

Others noted that Twitter’s guidelines also state that “State-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK for example, are not defined as state-affiliated media for the purposes of this policy.”

“How much taxpayer funding NPR receives is unclear, with much of it being hidden in the form of grants, but estimates have suggested NPR’s budget is made up of 25 percent of taxpayer dollars, with its member stations receiving another 40 percent of public funds. Others argue it’s less than 2 percent,” Summit News related.

Applauding the move by Twitter:

And this mind-bending comment:

So, the question is, does NPR push an agenda and ideology influenced by the state?

The following examples would suggest yes, it certainly does:

Fox News reported that the label has formerly been applied to state-run media outlets in foreign autocracies, like Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua. Some are pointing out that Musk has reason to compare the liberal NPR to those entities.

Forbes reported that Twitter has changed the wording on its website, removing NPR as an entity that was not labeled in this manner. Although he has designated NPR as State-run, he is open to other state-run media.

“Musk has privately expressed an interest in Russia’s RT and its take on news. Text between the billionaire and several associates were made public as a part of Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk last year, and one text exchange with Antonio Gracias, the former Director of Tesla from 2007-2021 mentioned RT,” Forbes stated.

“EU passed a law banning Russia Today and several other Russian news sources. We have been told to block their IP address,” Musk texted Gracias. “Actually, I find their news quite entertaining,” Musk continued. “Lot of bullshit, but some good points too.”

In March, NPR was criticized for claiming that there was “limited scientific evidence” of males possessing physical advantages over women in sports, Fox reported.

Really? Any high school athletic coach would beg to differ. Hence Title IX, the law that gives women athletes the right to equal opportunity in sports in educational institutions that receive federal funds, from elementary schools to colleges and universities.

Due to the backlash, NPR tweeted a correction;

“Correction: An earlier tweet incorrectly stated there is limited scientific evidence of physical advantage. Existing research shows that higher levels of testosterone do impact athletic performance. But there’s limited research involving elite trans athletes in competition.”

Kudos for the correction, NPR, but just testosterone levels? Taller bodies, different bone structure, larger hands, larger feet, etc. don’t matter? It seems that science has been on top of that for some time.

NPR has been notoriously liberal in its presentation of news. A Pew study in 2011 found that more Democrats than Republicans find NPR’s stories believable.
but now, along with other entities, NPR is struggling with finding.

The Hill reported last July, “The time has come: Defund the Hopelessly Biased NPR.” The Hill noted that at its onset in 1971 NPR was launched with a mission to “speak with many voices, many dialects” which suggested the most important diversity of all: diversity of thought and speech.

Possibly that era has ended.


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