Elon Musk Calls to “Defund” NPR After It Quits Twitter

Musk’s assaults on the outlet serve not solely as an assault on journalists, however on public items as an entire.

Elon Musk went on a tirade in opposition to NPR on Wednesday, calling for the outlet to be “defund[ed]” after it introduced that it’s going to not be posting on Twitter within the wake of the right-wing billionaire’s newest assaults on journalism and the free press.

“Defund @NPR,” Musk wrote on Wednesday afternoon as he fired off quite a few tweets trying to justify the selections that in the end drove the outlet off the web site. Earlier that day, NPR said that it’s going to not be posting on the web site after Twitter labeled its account “state-affiliated media.”

“At this level I’ve misplaced my religion within the decision-making at Twitter,” mentioned NPR CEO John Lansing, including that he “would wish a while to grasp whether or not Twitter could be trusted once more,” earlier than deciding whether or not NPR would ever return to the platform.

The “state-affiliated media” label, seemingly assigned at Musk’s behest, has been condemned by journalists and free press advocates as an try and delegitimize NPR’s work, possible motivated by the appropriate’s notion of the outlet as left-leaning. That lean has lengthy been disputed by these truly on the left, who keep that NPR routinely elevates right-wing voices and whitewashes and legitimizes imperial violence — all whereas parroting speaking factors hand-picked by its corporate sponsors.

To the appropriate, nonetheless, it’s irrelevant that the hole between NPR’s and Musk’s ideologies might not be as broad because it seems — it solely issues that the general public believes that NPR leans left, as with different institution retailers often attacked by the appropriate, like CNN or The New York Instances. Finally, far proper assaults on the media serve to push historically “heart” retailers, like NPR and The New York Instances, even additional to the appropriate; right-wingers have additionally hurled unfounded accusations of left-wing bias in opposition to different U.S. establishments, just like the FBI, with the purpose of pushing them additional into fascism.

So as to bolster its claims that NPR is biased towards the left, the appropriate has been attempting to inflate the proportion of funding that the outlet will get from the federal government; Musk claimed on Twitter on Wednesday that because NPR once pointed to federal funding as “important” to its reporting, the outlet shouldn’t be thought of authentic. NPR shot again, pointing out that it will get lower than 1 % of its funding from federal sources and that, whatever the proportion, the outlet operates independently, with out authorities affect.

Largely excluded from the dialog, nonetheless, is the longtime left-wing place that public funding for the media is usually a wholesome perform of a good and democratic society. With out public cash for journalism, media retailers turn into an increasing number of reliant on company funding, which presents its personal biases; according to NPR’s website, about 39 % of its funding lately has come from company “sponsorships.”

Biases as a result of company sponsorship have been well-documented. Politico has lengthy accepted sponsorship from companies like Lockheed Martin and main fossil gasoline corporations, leading the outlet to parrot business speaking factors; retailers like Axios have operated equally. In the meantime, corporations are gutting native information retailers throughout the nation, posing a threat to democracy at giant.

Twitter customers and pundits have additionally identified that Musk’s companies have gotten tens of billions of {dollars} from federal and state governments, and have lobbied for but more cash from the federal government, at the same time as Musk has publicly complained about authorities funding.

For a lot of conservatives, nonetheless, the thrust of the squabble seems to boil right down to a longtime battle between the left and the political institution: For the appropriate, it’s okay for the federal government to spend limitless quantities of cash funding companies — socialism for the wealthy — however it’s irresponsible or dangerous for the federal government to spend even a fraction of that quantity on public items — rugged capitalism for the poor.

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