Listen to this article NPR Quits Twitter Over False ‘State-Affiliated’ Label
NPR Goes Silent on Twitter
NPR Quits Twitter: The renowned public radio network, known for its impartial and thorough journalism, has made a groundbreaking decision to cease posting fresh content on its 52 official Twitter feeds. This action has set NPR apart as the first major news organization to withdraw from the social media giant.
Twitter’s Misclassification of NPR as “State-Affiliated Media”
The decision by NPR comes after Twitter labeled the network as “state-affiliated media,” a term that Twitter uses for propaganda outlets in authoritarian countries such as Russia and China. This classification took NPR off guard and prompted the network to rethink its relationship with Twitter.
Inaccurate and Misleading Labeling of NPR as “Government-Funded Media”
Twitter later revised the label on NPR’s account to “government-funded media,” but NPR still found this description inaccurate and misleading. NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence, and it receives less than 1% of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
NPR’s CEO, John Lansing, explains that the network’s decision to go silent on Twitter is aimed at protecting its credibility and ability to produce journalism without any negativity. According to him, regardless of the potential risks or downsides, the network would never compromise its reputation and credibility by posting content on a platform that undermines its editorial independence and standards.
The Importance of Impartiality in Journalism
Lansing’s concern about Twitter’s impact on NPR’s credibility is understandable, given the importance of impartiality in journalism. NPR has built its reputation on being an independent and trustworthy source of news, and any association with state propaganda could damage that reputation.
Twitter’s Credibility Undermined by Hasty Policy Changes
Twitter’s often hasty policy changes have undermined its credibility as a platform for journalists to connect with people at major events and authoritative sources. Lansing says that the degradation in the culture of Twitter, already often awash in abusive content, contributed to NPR’s decision to pull back.
NPR’s “Grace Period” and Individual Journalists’ Choices
NPR is now instituting a “two-week grace period” so the staff who run the Twitter accounts can revise their social-media strategies. Individual NPR journalists and staffers can decide for themselves whether to continue using Twitter.
Prioritizing Accuracy, Independence, and Credibility
In an email to staff explaining the decision, Lansing wrote, “It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.”
The Tension between Social Media and Traditional Journalism
While NPR’s decision to quit Twitter is a bold move, it also highlights the tension between social media and traditional journalism. For years, many journalists have considered Twitter critical to monitoring news developments, connecting with people at major events and with authoritative sources, and sharing their coverage. However, Twitter’s recent missteps have called into question its ability to serve as a reliable platform for journalists.
The Impact of NPR’s Decision and Future Implications
Whether NPR’s decision will prompt other news organizations to follow suit remains to be seen. But for now, NPR’s silence on Twitter is a reminder that journalism must always prioritize accuracy, independence, and credibility over the convenience of social media.
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