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NPR Ceases Twitter Activity in Faceoff With Musk

NPR is suspending the use of Twitter and will not actively maintain its 52 Twitter feeds.

“We are officially deemphasizing Twitter across the organization. We have made this decision after Twitter refused repeated requests to remove an inaccurate label designating NPR as ‘state-affiliated media,” the organization wrote in an announcement Wednesday morning.

“The label has since been changed to ‘Government-Funded Media,’ which does not accurately capture our public media governance structure and still sends Twitter users to an explanation that implies ‘government involvement over editorial content.’ We believe this label is intended to call in question our editorial independence and undermine our credibility. If we continued tweeting, every post would carry that misleading label.”

On Twitter itself, the organization tweeted: “We are turning away from Twitter, but not from our audiences and communities. There are plenty of ways to stay connected and keep up with NPR’s news, music and cultural content.”

The Associated Press reported that Musk’s response was to tweet “Defund @NPR.”

Later on Wednesday, Musk tweeted that NPR was being hypocritical, citing a statement on the NPR website that federal funding was essential to public radio.

NPR notes that it is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence that receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Individual public radio stations receive on average 8% of their revenue from federal appropriations via CPB and another 5% from federal, state and local governments, according to NPR’s information page about public radio finances (which includes the statement Musk cited that federal funding is essential to public radio and NPR, in the section headed Member Station Revenues).

According to a separate NPR story covering the decision to stop tweeting, CEO John Lansing wrote to staff: “It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.”

According to the AP, PBS also stopped tweeting from its main account.