Twitter slaps NPR with a dubious new tag: ‘State-affiliated media’

Is NPR “U.S. state-affiliated media”?

Twitter and its new owner, Elon Musk, seem to think so. Over NPR’s protests, Twitter placed that label on its account Tuesday night, implying that the Washington-based nonprofit news organization is somehow connected to, if not controlled by, the federal government.

The designation puts NPR, which has 8.8 million followers on the site, in the same category as propaganda outlets like the Russian-government-owned RT and the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper. Both are also “state-affiliated media,” according to Twitter.

Notably, however, Twitter has not slapped that label on several media organizations that are substantially funded by government. The Voice of America, the BBC and the U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes, among others, continue on Twitter without being designated as “state-affiliated” — a phrase with strong connotations of compromised editorial independence.