NPR Opposes Twitter’s ‘Affiliated Media’ Label

NPR Opposes Twitter’s ‘Affiliated Media’ Label

National Public Radio has been caught up in Twitter’s overhaul of the verification system and some new labels administered by the company that have angered users of the social media platform since Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk took over the platform last fall.

NPR was mislabeled Tuesday as a “US state-affiliated media” on the social network, according to its chief executive and correspondents — a move that contradicts Twitter’s previous definition of the term. The label now appears on NPR’s main Twitter bio and on all tweets from the main NPR Twitter account, similar to missives from the accounts of foreign outlets including the Russian government-owned and operated RT network (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik radio, and China’s Xinhua News Agency, which is also state-owned.

The non-profit independent NPR, in contrast, gets a minuscule amount of its funding from government grants and maintains editorial independence.

The move comes after the social media giant ended its legacy verification system on Saturday, offering blue check verification to anyone who pays $8 a month for a Twitter blue badge. News organizations like the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and New York Times refused to pay for the paid service because the blue checkmarks no longer represent authority and expertise on the platform.

About that, twitter policy now defines “state-affiliated” media on the platform as “media where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressure, and/or control over production and distribution.”

But in an earlier iteration, the company’s own policy separately labeled NPR – like the BBC in the UK – as “state-funded media organizations with editorial independence”.

However, on Tuesday, Twitter removed the reference to NPR in the state-funded media explanation. He only used the BBC as an example, according to NPR correspondent David Gura, who tweeted past and present screenshots label definitions.

Musk, who took ownership of Twitter in October, shared a portion of the company’s policy toward state-affiliated media on Tuesday in response to a user who applauded the label placed on the NPR account.

“Looks accurate,” Musk he wrote.

But in a statement posted Wednesday on Twitter, NPR President and Chief Executive John Lansing objected to the nomenclature. He said he was “disturbed” to see NPR labeled as “state-affiliated media” when the term does not apply to the organization, per previous Twitter guidelines.

“NPR and our member stations are supported by the millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide,” said Lansing.

“NPR stands for free speech and holding the powerful accountable. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way. A vigorous and vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy.”

NPR is funded in “significantly different but interrelated ways,” according to its website. The non-profit, independent media organization is also a membership organization that separately licenses and operates public radio stations in the US. Its two largest sources of funding are corporate sponsorships and fees paid by NPR member organizations.

It also receives institutional grants, individual contributions and fees paid by users of the Public Satellite Radio System, as well as donations from listeners, as seen in member stations’ ubiquitous fundraising campaigns throughout the year.

On average, it receives less than 1% of its annual operating budget from grants from the Public Broadcasting Corporation and federal departments and agencies, NPR said.

“NPR is not a state-affiliated media outlet. It’s public media.” tweeted New York Times podcast host and former NPR host Lulu Garcia-Navarro. “The NYT is not propaganda. It is the most robust news organization in the English-speaking world. The bias on who is being targeted on this site by its leadership is very clear. And it is no small thing.”

“Labeling @NPR state-affiliated media is totally inaccurate and false,” said NPR journalist Ashley Westerman added. “NPR receives LESS THAN 2% of its funding from grants from the federal government. The NPR newsroom is a completely free and independent newsroom; was always. This label is a LIE and an insult.”

“So now Chief Twit has decided to label NPR as ‘US state-affiliated media,’ proving that he knows nothing about @NPR or what that phrase really means,” said Eric Deggans, TV critic and media analyst for NPR. tweeted. “Really wish he would stop picking pointless rhetorical fights in this space and really make things better.”

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