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No, Twitter. We are not 'state-affiliated media.' (Seriously, Elon Musk?)

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Twitter recently added a tagline to National Public Radio's Twitter page: "US state-affiliated media." Which was surprising, because it's a term typically reserved for Russian propaganda outlets that spew misinformation.

There's a lot silly about NPR getting this label. For one, NPR, our fairy godmother in newsgathering, receives a mere 1% of its annual operating budget from the federal government in the form of grants. For two, NPR is not propaganda, no matter your opinion.

Twitter defines state-affiliated media as "where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures."

Yes, NPR receives some federal money to do journalism. No, the feds are not giving them this money to have sway over Nina Totenberg. I haven't interviewed the federal grant writers, so this is pure speculation, but my hunch is that the government awards NPR some money to uphold the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — the part about "freedom of the press." It's not like, "here's some coin to downplay how bad a biter Major was."

Honestly, I'd just roll my eyes if it weren't also alarming. KUOW President Caryn Mathes pushed back against Twitter's label on Friday, calling the "state-affiliated" label "false and dangerous."

NPR, KUOW and our fellow members of the NPR Network are editorially independent news organizations supported by listeners who believe that an informed public makes our democracy stronger. Twitter labeling NPR as "state-affiliated media," a term the platform uses to identify propaganda outlets and government-controlled media, is false and dangerous. We stand with NPR and are greatly disturbed by this blatant attack on independent journalism.

- Caryn G. Mathes, KUOW President & General Manager

On Thursday, Musk appeared to have slightly walked back the move, stating that "it sounds like that might not be accurate here."

But as of Friday evening, the "state-affiliated media" tag remains on NPR's Twitter profile.

Why you can trust KUOW