A few days ago, the tag “Government-funded Media” appeared underneath NPR’s masthead on Twitter. Today, the company announced its departure from the social media platform and laid out its intentions to proliferate content through email, an app, and “other social media platforms.” The official post reads, “NPR produces consequential, independent journalism every day in service to the public.”
NPR claims editorial independence despite the tag denoting them as federally funded, and their decision to part ways with Twitter reflects their ire against Musk’s trepidatious move. A small percentage, according to NPR, is federally funded, but it is no secret that they lean heavy to the left in their commentary, especially in recent years. Musk resurrected a line from NPR (now removed) that reads, “Federal funding is essential to public radio its continuation is critical.” The satire site Babylon Bee also quipped in a headline, “National Public Radio denies being national or public.”
NPR CEO John Lansing said he’d leave it up to NPR’s journalists to stay on Twitter or not but noted that he no longer trusts the platform. NPR is the first major company to leave Twitter.
The news also arrives the same day of the release of an interview between Elon Musk and BBC reporter James Clayton. Clayton claims he has experienced more “hate speech” in his feed since Musk’s acquisition, but when pressed to give specific examples, came up empty.
Twitter continues to provoke debates over censorship, whether it’s been properly addressed, and the necessity of free speech for a healthy, democratic society.