The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is joining National Public Radio (NPR) and leaving Twitter after being slapped with a “government-funded” label.
PBS, BBC, and NPR were previously exempted from Twitter’s guidelines on labeling state-affiliated accounts.
The policy used to say that NPR and the BBC of Britain did not receive the label because they were “state-financed media organizations with editorial independence.” That exemption has since been removed under Elon Musk’s leadership.
“PBS stopped tweeting from our account when we learned of the change, and we have no plans to resume at this time,” a spokesman for PBS told The Hill. “We are continuing to monitor the ever-changing situation closely.”
NPR Responds to Twitter Labeling the Outlet as ‘U.S. State-Affiliated Media’ — Says They Were Sent a Poop Emoji By the Platform
The rule was previously focused on targeting outlets from places like Russia and China.
NPR has claimed that the label undermines its credibility, prompting them to quit the platform.
“We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence,” NPR said in a statement to The Hill. “We are turning away from Twitter but not from our audiences and communities.”
Last week, NPR released a formal response to the branding. While acknowledging that they receive federal funding, the outlet claimed it doesn’t count since it is only a small portion of their budget.
“NPR operates independently of the U.S. government. And while federal money is important to the overall public media system, NPR gets less than 1% of its annual budget, on average, from federal sources,” NPR said. “NPR receives federal funds indirectly because they play a vital role in supporting member stations through annual grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But those stations also rely on audience donations and other revenue — and they purchase programs and content from across the public media ecosystem, not solely from NPR.”
NPR also threw PBS under the bus, saying they had not received the label — something that has since changed.
“As of Wednesday morning, Twitter had not applied the ‘state-affiliated’ label to other outlets that directly or indirectly receive any public funds, such as PBS,” NPR noted.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 12, 2023
After NPR announced that they were leaving, Musk tweeted, “Defund NPR.”