Twitter, With Elon Musk’s Approval, Labels NPR’s Account as ‘State-Affiliated Media’
It smells Musky in here.
Bubbling up from under the bridges of the internet, one can hear the incoherent mumble-grumble of the internet’s biggest troll: Elon Musk. He bellows, he raves, he flings poop emojis, and he makes absolutely certain that everyone knows when he doesn’t like something. Remember when Musk’s Twitter was attempting to make criticizing him and his car company even harder? Or when he did away with Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council? Or when he straight up banned all those accounts all those accounts he didn’t like? Musk has always been a staunch supporter of the Freedom of Speech, but only when he’s the one talking.
In a new effort to paint the Twitter town red with his opinions, Musk has just branded NPR’s Twitter account with the label “State Affiliated Media.” Now, what exactly does this mean? This means that Twitter is now lumping NPR into the same boat with state sponsored news entities like Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua News Agency. He then applauded what was most likely his own decision saying that the change to NPR’s designation “seems accurate.”
Let me put this in perspective: In 2020, Twitter said that the label “State Affiliated Media” was reserved only for news outlets where the state “exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution.” Before its recent policy updates, Twitter named the BBC and NPR as two organizations that do not fall under the state-sponsored media umbrella because these publications are able to exercise “editorial independence.”
So, what does it mean that Twitter has now added NPR to this designation? It means that Twitter “will not recommend or amplify” tweets coming from NPR or any other “State Affiliated Media” accounts, according to its policies. This means that NPR will no longer enjoy the reach and influence that was afforded to the organization on Twitter.
This is, of course, bullshit.
NPR, unlike the aforementioned accounts from Russia and China, is financed almost exclusively by private investment and membership fees. The organization receives less than 1% of its funding from federal agencies, hardly a “sponsorship” if you ask me. In fact, Elon Musk’s own company Tesla has received federal funding in the form of a $465 million dollar loan from the Energy Department in 2010. Doesn’t this mean that Tesla’s Twitter account should be labeled as “State Affiliated Media” as well? Apparently not.
All of this amounts to a classic “do as I say, not as I do” straight out of the Musk playbook, and NPR has not taken to it kindly. NPR has not tweeted since the designation, and their Twitter bio currently reads “you can find us every other place you read the news.” It appears that they have jumped ship. Would that Musk himself would do the same.
(featured image: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
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