Due to Twitter’s decision to identify NPR as “state-affiliated media,” the same classification they use for propaganda operations in Russia, China, and other totalitarian nations, NPR will no longer post new content on its 52 official Twitter channels.
The public service network was taken off guard by Twitter’s decision last week. Elon Musk, the founder of Twitter, inquired about how NPR operates when approached by NPR tech correspondent Bobby Allyn. Musk said he might have been mistaken.
The description of NPR’s account on Twitter was then modified to “government-funded media.” According to the news organization, NPR is a private, non-profit corporation with editorial independence, so such statement is false and deceptive. Less than 1% of its $300 million yearly budget comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is supported by the state.
NPR’s CEO claims that by being mute on Twitter, the network is preserving its reputation and its capacity to create journalism free of “a shadow of negativity.”
According to NPR CEO John Lansing, “the downside, whatever the downside, doesn’t change that fact.” I swore I would never allow our content to be used in a way that would compromise our credibility.
Even if Twitter were to completely remove the designation, Lansing claimed that the network wouldn’t be coming back to the service right away.
I started to lose faith in Twitter’s judgment at that time, he claims. It would take me some time to determine whether Twitter can once again be trusted. Individual NPR staff members and journalists are free to continue using Twitter, according to Lansing.