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Twitter criticized after labeling NPR as ‘state-affiliated media’

(NewsNation) — NPR president and CEO John Lansing fired back at Twitter on Wednesday morning after the social media platform put a label on the news organization’s profile calling it “state-affiliated media.”

NewsNation partner The Hill reports this designation is one Twitter uses for state news agencies such as Russia’s TASS and China’s Xinhua.

“NPR and our Member stations are supported by millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide,” Lansing wrote in a statement. “NPR stands for freedom of speech and holding the powerful accountable. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way. A vigorous, vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy.”

Twitter’s guidelines state that “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.”

However, NPR’s new label is seemingly inconsistent with Twitter’s past media guidelines.

Previous versions of the guidelines said “state-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK and NPR in the U.S., for example, are not defined as state-affiliated media.” However, the mention of NPR was taken out in a different version of the rules posted Tuesday.

NewsNation reached out to Twitter’s press email, which responded with a poop emoji.

Twitter owner Elon Musk announced that the email press@twitter.com would begin auto-responding to inquiries with that emoji on March 19.

NPR said Wednesday in its own article about the state-affiliated media tag that NPR is an “independent, non-profit media organization” that gets much of its funding from sponsorships and fees paid by hundreds of member sites. It does get some government funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was set up by Congress.

“On average, less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from CPB and federal agencies and departments,” NPR’s website states.

The Washington Post reports Musk has previously targeted news organizations. In December, for instance, he suspended about a dozen journalists’ accounts at The Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and others over their reporting on a Twitter account that tracked Musk’s jet travels. He’s also removed the blue verification checkmarks from the profiles of The New York Times.

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