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Elon Musk calls to ‘defund NPR’ after outlet quits Twitter


Elon Musk called for National Public Radio to be stripped of its federal funding on Wednesday in an escalation of his feud with the media outlet.

Twitter’s billionaire CEO lashed out shortly after NPR said it would stop posting on its 52 Twitter accounts. The exit followed a public flap over Twitter’s decision to label the outlet’s main account as “government-funded media.”

When asked by NPR reporter Bob Allyn if he feared NPR’s exit would prompt a mass exodus among other news outlets, Musk replied: “Defund @NPR.”

Musk also pointed to a message on a section of NPR’s website titled “Public Radio Finances.”

“Federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American public and its continuation is critical for both stations and program producers, including NPR,” the message on NPR’s website says.

“NPR literally says federal funding is *essential* on their website right now,” Musk added. “What have you got against the truth @NPR?”

NPR says it derives “less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” The bulk of its revenue comes from sponsorship deals and customer fees.


Elon Musk
Elon Musk wants NPR to lose its federal funding.
Elon Musk/Twitter

The Post has reached out to NPR for comment on Musk’s remarks.

Twitter initially slapped NPR’s main account with a “state-affiliated media” label – the same designation it gives to outlets such as Russia Today and China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.


Elon Musk tweet
Twitter later softened its stance and changed the label to “government-funded media.”
Elon Musk/Twitter

At the time, Musk cited Twitter’s guidelines that defined “state-affiliated media” 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.”

NPR argued the label was inaccurate because it is run as an independent nonprofit.


Elon Musk
Elon Musk is CEO of Twitter.
Getty Images

After facing pushback from NPR and other critics, Twitter softened its stance and changed the label to “government-funded media.” The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBS) has the same label on Twitter.

Despite the change, NPR said it was quitting Twitter altogether, citing concerns that Musk’s moves would impact its journalistic credibility.


NPR
NPR quit Twitter this week.
Getty Images

“NPR’s organizational accounts will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent,” NPR said in a statement.

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) also announced plans to quit Twitter after the site gave its account the same “government-funded media” label.



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