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Elon Musk Says NPR’s ‘Federal Public Media’ Title Wasn’t Accurate – NPR


Twitter CEO Elon Musk, pictured here in August 2022, put the “federal public media” label on NPR’s Twitter accounts, leading to widespread criticism.

CARINA JOHANSEN/NTB/AFP via Getty Images


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CARINA JOHANSEN/NTB/AFP via Getty Images


Twitter CEO Elon Musk, pictured here in August 2022, put the “federal public media” label on NPR’s Twitter accounts, leading to widespread criticism.

CARINA JOHANSEN/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter CEO Elon Musk said the platform’s recent labeling of NPR as “federal public media” was not accurate in a series of email exchanges that provided a glimpse into the billionaire’s thinking on decisions that reverberate far beyond the social network.

However, as of late Thursday, the term remained.

On Wednesday, the press freedom advocate and the network itself reported that Twitter had placed NPR in a similar category with the government’s various advertising issues in China and Russia — despite the network’s federal support, in the form of competitive grants, accounting for about 1% of its annual operating budget.

In one email exchange, Musk appeared to discuss the difference between public media and government-controlled media, when he decided to attach the label to a social media affiliate on NPR’s account.

“Okay, so we have to fix it,” Musk wrote in an email to this reporter on Wednesday, when he announced that government support represents about 1% of NPR’s funding.

Musk added: “What is the breakdown of NPR’s annual funding?”

Responding to NPR, Musk provided publicly available documentation of the network’s funding showing that nearly 40% of its funding comes from corporate sponsorships and 31% from programming fees paid by local public radio stations.

NPR also covers news free from any government influence — which should mean it doesn’t accept state-affiliated labeling. Demo proper rules.

Musk, in another email, criticized NPR for the media outlets of the governments of other countries, admitting that it also “sounds” like it would not be the case.

“The operating principle for the new Twitter handle is simply fair and equal, so if we label non-US govt accounts, then we should do the same for the US, but it sounds like that’s not accurate here,” he wrote.

It was in turn from a tweet sent hours earlier that the NPR affiliate’s title “appears to be accurate.”

Amid the conflicting views, Musk reiterated his commitment to applying “any rule that is fair enough to all” in an address Friday, and said the title is still being evaluated, according to NPR.

Musk’s comments to NPR for just two days still clouded what was already a confusing situation.

But for the first time, that chaos was not the norm on social media.

Since Musk took the platform in October, Twitter has sometimes taken a hostile stand in the national press. Musk’s arrangement with NPR is just the latest instance of the Twitter CEO’s increasingly confrontational stance in the mainstream media, which often covers Musk and his team critically.

Twitter has stripped the New York Times of its veritable blue collars. In December, Musk suspended the accounts of several high-profile journalists who shared or reported tweets that they had privately tracked the comings and goings of their jets.

When reporters reach for an official comment from the company on news stories, Twitter responds to social media with a poop emoji.

But the label given to NPR was no laughing matter to rescue journalism watchdogs who viewed it as “a dangerous move that could further undermine public trust in certain news sources,” the literary organization PEN America said in a statement.

John Lansing, NPR’s president and chief executive, said he was “disturbed” by Twitter’s assertion that the network was affiliated with the state news agency. “It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us in this way,” Lansing said in a statement.

The label is intended to help users understand what they were ‘seeing’

Despite his interest in reporting fairness, Musk appears to be defying Twitter’s own ways in giving NPR a label that may harm its credibility.

“Federal state media” are outlets where the state exercises the power to edit content directly through funding, or indirectly through political pressure, according to regulations.

A former Twitter executive who helped develop the label’s status as an affiliate platform said editorial independence has long been a factor in deciding whether to publish a design;

The People’s Daily in China and Sputnik and RT in Russia, for example, received labels, but issues with editorial autonomy that did not receive any government funding.

“In the end, [we] He felt the most fair and balanced way to implement labels was to call for status links that had a demonstrated track record of influencing news content,” said the Twitter executive.

That meant NPR, the government-funded outlet of Voice of America, “and not Al Jazeera’s quality under our design,” said a former employee.

The point of the labels, the former executive said, is to help users understand what they’re about to see in meetings.

“What matters a lot is when you see an outlet like Xinhua, I’ve never heard of it, and it looks like a totally unreadable news source,” the executive said of the state news agency that claims to be pushing the official line of China’s President Xi Jinping. .

In addition to potentially spotting NPR’s report, the title tweet is flooding the network.

Under Twitter’s rules, and in accordance with previous executive policies, those associated with public information are not recommended or amplified on the platform — a process known as “downgrading” among social media insiders.

NPR did not send the tweet from the official account with the Twitter tag attached.

NPR spokeswoman Isabel Lara said that since all of the organization’s news tweets now carry a “false disclaimer,” it has decided to stop tweeting until the label is removed.

Asked if Twitter’s removal of the label meant the company was standing by the plan, Musk demurred.

“We dug into it,” he wrote.



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Ava Grey

Hi there! I'm Ava Grey, an enthusiastic article writer with a passion for the arts, fashion, and staying informed about current events. As a journalism student at the New York Academy of Art, I'm driven to use my writing to create positive change and spark meaningful conversations. I'm particularly interested in contemporary art and sustainable fashion, and I love exploring how people use these mediums to express themselves and communicate their values. I believe that staying informed and hearing different perspectives is essential for personal growth and learning, and I'm always eager to engage in lively debates and discussions.

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