Twitter assigned the label of “US state-affiliated media” on its social media platform to taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR).
“Seems accurate,” said Twitter CEO Elon Musk Wednesday morning as he posted his company’s policy on that classification category.
“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,” the Twitter policy reads in its Help Center.
Seems accurate pic.twitter.com/nx5TmJY7GX
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2023
As Fox News noted, the label “has traditionally applied to state-run media outlets in foreign autocracies, like Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua.”
NPR Climate & Energy Correspondent Jeff Brady and former NPR producer Ashley Westerman criticized Twitter’s categorization of NPR.
Uh, no… pic.twitter.com/ki7vo9TIBi
— Jeff Brady (@jeffbradynews) April 5, 2023
National Propaganda Radio also getting money from capitalist oligarch foundations and oil companies doesn't make it any less of a state media outlet. Quite the opposite, really…
— American Exception (@Aaron_Good_) April 5, 2023
Westerman called Twitter’s label of NPR as “US state-affiliated media” a “LIE and an insult.”
“Labeling @NPR state-affiliated media is wholly inaccurate and untruthful,” she wrote. “NPR gets LESS THAN 2% of its funding from grants through the federal government. NPR’s newsroom is an absolutely free and independent newsroom; always has been. This label is a LIE and an insult.”
Labeling @NPR state-affiliated media is wholly inaccurate and untruthful. NPR gets LESS THAN 2% of its funding from grants through the federal government. NPR’s newsroom is an absolutely free and independent newsroom; always has been. This label is a LIE and an insult. pic.twitter.com/2iS04hMeQ1
— Ashley Westerman (Valdez) (@_aswesterman) April 5, 2023
NPR, however, has received significant attention for its leftist bias over the years.
As early as 2014, Pew Research found 72 percent of those surveyed who identify as “consistently liberal” trusted NPR as a news source, while 71 percent trusted PBS as a source.
In March, NPR, which announced a month earlier that it was laying off about 10 percent of its workforce, received criticism over its claim that there is “limited scientific evidence” of males possessing physical advantages over women in sports. A correction followed.
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.
— NPR (@NPR) March 26, 2023
“Correction: An earlier tweet incorrectly stated there is limited scientific evidence of physical advantage,” NPR wrote. “Existing research shows that higher levels of testosterone do impact athletic performance. But there’s limited research involving elite trans athletes in competition.”
In an opinion piece in 2017 at the New York Post, Ken Stern, president of Palisades Media Ventures and former CEO of NPR, reflected on liberal media bias and how leaving NPR helped him to get beyond the “groupthink” present in that world.
“When you are liberal, and everyone else around you is as well, it is easy to fall into groupthink on what stories are important, what sources are legitimate and what the narrative of the day will be,” he wrote, elaborating:
This may seem like an unusual admission from someone who once ran NPR, but it is borne of recent experience. Spurred by a fear that red and blue America were drifting irrevocably apart, I decided to venture out from my overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhood and engage Republicans where they live, work and pray. For an entire year, I embedded myself with the other side, standing in pit row at a NASCAR race, hanging out at Tea Party meetings and sitting in on Steve Bannon’s radio show. I found an America far different from the one depicted in the press and imagined by presidents (“cling to guns or religion”) and presidential candidates (“basket of deplorables”) alike.
“It’s not that media is suppressing stories intentionally,” Stern observed. “It’s that these stories don’t reflect their interests and beliefs.”
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Elon Musk” by The Royal Society. CC BY 3.0. Background Photo “NPR Building” by Ben Schumin. CC BY-SA 2.0.