Elon Musk is continuing to flex the social media power that he holds through his acquisition, and domination, of the Twitter platform. The credibility of news organizations that do not uphold his extreme ideals are under attack again and are now being labeled as “US state-affiliated media” or “government-funded media” if they receive any form of government grants. This time, the National Public Radio is the subject of Musk’s attack and new labeling feature, despite only receiving 1% of their funding from the government. This tactic by Musk is just another way that he is asserting his control to silence true journalism and suppress the truth.  

Twitter being run by Musk is harmful to journalism and media as a whole. Censorship and freedom of speech are being spun by him and the platform to spread hate and other problematic rhetoric. The initial program allowing anyone to be verified is disrespectful to journalists who have studied and followed rules to present truthful and unbiased information. Since the transfer of Twitter, it appears that Musk has made it a priority to ruin the credibility of news sites, such as NPR.

The labeling feature is being used to alter the positive perception that is generally associated with NPR. Other public news sites that also receive government funding are not being met with such harsh criticism from Musk. The British Broadcasting Corporation was also labeled as “government-funded media” on its Twitter account, but it has now been updated to read “publicly funded media” instead. NPR still has editorial control of the content they publish although they receive this minimal funding. Musk clarified in a mocking way that the platform, “assiduously maintains editorial independence.”

NPR is a staple news organization that has loyal listeners and readers who will most likely not cause this label to deter them from following it. Individuals who are already consumed in extremist and right-wing propaganda, however, will use the label to further their agendas. Not everything promoted by Musk or shared on Twitter “as news” is necessarily true or unbiased. It is important for true news sites to continue paving the way and creating content for these platforms to get ahead of misinformation and engage younger audiences before they become susceptible to the fake news being spread. 

Since this new label debuted on Twitter, NPR, and several other news organizations including PBS, have made statements that they will no longer be using the platform in solidarity of this attack on the media. NPR said it was suspending all activity on Twitter citing the social network’s “actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.” During the past few years, Twitter was previously used by the public as a source for credible news. With other news sites no longer using the platform, Musk’s false news will run rampant. 

Through this controversy, NPR has changed their website several times to reword how they receive their government aid to not appear like they are being influenced by the money. Despite these inconsistencies, they should not be attacked in the way that they currently are. This attack is not just on NPR, but on all creditable media and journalists. Musk’s influence is harmful and his reign over Twitter will be the downfall of the platform. 


  • The Editorial Board

    The Highlander editorials reflect the majority view of the Highlander Editorial Board. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Associated Students of UCR or the University of California system.