The Public Broadcasting Service became the second news organization to quit Twitter this week after National Public Radio quit using the platform after Twitter CEO Elon Musk had the organization listed as “US state-affiliated media” and later as “Government-funded Media” — a designation later applied to PBS.
“PBS stopped tweeting from our account when we learned of the change and we have no plans to resume at this time,” PBS spokesman Jason Phelps told Bloomberg News. “We are continuing to monitor the ever-changing situation closely.”
Musk shared the company’s policy on labeling state-affiliated media when the decision was made to initially slap NPR with the label.
“State-affiliated media is defined 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,” the Twitter policy says.
An NPR spokesperson lashed out over the designation in announcing that the company would no longer use the platform.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
“We are turning away from Twitter but not from our audiences and communities,” the statement continued. “There are plenty of ways to stay connected and keep up with NPR’s news, music, and cultural content.”
NPR infamously refused to cover the Hunter Biden laptop scandal in the weeks before the 2020 presidential election.
“We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions,” NPR Managing Editor Terence Samuels said at the time in explaining why the publication would not cover the story.
— NPR Public Editor (@NPRpubliceditor) October 22, 2020