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Elon Musk Tweeted 'Defund NPR' After They Left Twitter—And People Are Making Him Regret It

After Musk had designated NPR as 'state-affiliated media' and later 'government-funded media,' the public broadcasting network decided to call it quits on the platform.

Elon Musk
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Billionaire Elon Musk was criticized after he tweeted to "Defund @NPR" in response to the news outlet choosing to leave Twitter because he'd designated it "state-affiliated media" and later "government-funded media," which the network disputed.

Musk issued the tweet after posting a screenshot of an email from NPR business reporter Bobby Allyn, who'd asked him for his "reaction" to NPR's decision to leave amid suggestions that its move "will cause a chain reaction among news orgs."

You can see Musk's tweet below.

The rationale behind Twitter's decision to label NPR as state-affiliated media is still unclear.

But Musk pointed to the company's definition of "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."

He later tweeted this definition and "Seems accurate" in response to a post from conservative columnist Benny Johnson.

NPR's President and CEO, John Lansing, later responded to the new label with a statement the media outlet "stands for freedom of speech [and] holding the powerful accountable" and referring to the new designation from Twitter as "unacceptable."

Musk later changed the designation from “State-affiliated media” to “government-funded media,” but NPR argued the new label is also inaccurate since the U.S. government provides less than 1 percent of NPR’s annual operating budget.

The dispute highlights the challenges media organizations face in today’s world, where misinformation and propaganda are often spread through social media.

NPR, like many other reputable news outlets, has to work hard to maintain its credibility and editorial independence, and it is understandably concerned about being falsely labeled as “state-affiliated media.”

Many have come to NPR's defense and criticized Musk's behavior in the wake of his call to "defund" the largely publicly funded broadcasting network.

Gun reform activist Shannon Watts—the founder of Moms Demand Action (MDA)—also tweeted information on how to donate to NPR.

Musk has repeatedly insisted Twitter needs to go private if it wants to become a platform for free speech, though he has already come under fire for silencing his critics and spreading misinformation.

His stewardship of the company has sent advertisers scrambling and even prompted Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren to launch an inquiry into the harm Musk has caused to Tesla's investors since using Twitter as his "private plaything."

Moreover, a slew of chaotic policy decisions have further alienated the platform's users and Musk has walked back previous moves banning journalists while caving in to calls for him to appoint a new chief executive.