Musk admits NPR isn’t state-affiliated after asking questions he may have Googled

NPR's Twitter profile with the newly applied
Enlarge / NPR’s Twitter profile as of April 9, 2023.

When Elon Musk slapped NPR’s Twitter account with a “US state-affiliated media” label final week, it rapidly grew to become clear he did not know a lot about how NPR operates or the way it’s funded. After admitting the state-affiliated label was fallacious, Musk modified NPR’s tag yesterday to “Authorities Funded Media”—though NPR will get lower than 1 p.c of its annual funding instantly from the US authorities.

The state-affiliated tag took NPR and lots of others unexpectedly, partially as a result of it contradicted Twitter’s personal coverage that cited NPR and the BBC as examples of state-financed media organizations that retain editorial independence. Twitter has traditionally utilized its state-affiliated tag to state-controlled information organizations like Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua.

Twitter modified its coverage to take away the reference to editorial independence at NPR and the BBC, however did not scrub the outdated language from one other Twitter help page that also describes each NPR and the BBC as editorially unbiased. The BBC’s main Twitter account can be newly labeled as “Authorities Funded Media” after beforehand having no label.

In emails with NPR reporter Bobby Allyn, Musk requested primary questions that he may have discovered solutions to with a fast Web search. “He did not appear to grasp the distinction between public media and state-controlled media,” Allyn said Friday in an interview with Mary Louise Kelly on the present All Issues Thought-about.

Allyn continued:

He requested me at one level, quote, “what is the breakdown of NPR’s annual funding?” And he requested, “who appoints management at NPR?” These are questions you will get by Googling, however for some cause he needed to ask me. And likewise, let’s take a second and pause on these questions, Mary Louise, as a result of he made a significant coverage choice, proper? And after doing so, he’s simply now asking for the fundamental details. This isn’t precisely how most CEOs in America function. Anyway, I answered his questions. About 1 p.c of NPR’s funds is from federal grants, and an unbiased board appoints NPR’s CEO, who picks management.

Musk: Label “may not be correct”

Musk may have gotten the NPR funding data from this NPR page, which says, “On common, lower than 1 p.c of NPR’s annual working funds comes within the type of grants from CPB [Corporation for Public Broadcasting] and federal companies and departments.”

Company sponsorships are the highest contributor to NPR funding, accounting for 39 p.c of common annual income between 2018 and 2022. NPR will get one other 31 p.c of its funding in programming charges from member organizations. Federal funding not directly contributes to the latter class as a result of the publicly funded CPB offers annual grants to public radio stations that pay NPR for programming.

Musk’s emails have been additional detailed in an article by Allyn. After Allyn advised Musk that NPR will get only one p.c of its cash from the federal government, Musk replied, “Properly, then we must always repair it.”

“The working precept at new Twitter is just truthful and equal remedy, so if we label non-US accounts as govt, then we must always do the identical for US, however it seems like that may not be correct right here,” Musk wrote in one other e-mail to Allyn.

NPR’s present government-funded label hyperlinks to Twitter’s policy, which incorporates the Twitter’s definition of state-affiliated media accounts however would not present a definition of government-funded.