NPR’s decision to leave Twitter has sparked a heated debate among conservatives and liberals alike. While liberals are applauding the news organization for taking a stand against the tech giant, many conservatives are criticizing the move as an act of corporate virtue signaling.
At the heart of the controversy is Twitter’s decision to label NPR as “government–funded media” — the same term it uses for propaganda outlets in Russia, China and other autocratic countries. Although NPR receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the news organization says the label is inaccurate and misleading.
Conservatives have been quick to point out that the label “state–affiliated media” was a mistake, but they also argue that NPR’s decision to quit Twitter is an act of corporate virtue signaling. By leaving the platform, they argue, NPR is hoping to please its liberal readership by bashing the Musk–owned site.
“NPR is just recapitulating a trend that has been seen on Twitter in recent months,” said one conservative commentator. “Progressives have been bashing the Musk–owned site, suggesting it was about to collapse and making plans to leave.”
John Lansing, NPR CEO, at the @MorningEdition meeting.
NPR says it will de-emphasize Twitter. Aside from the misleading label, NPR says Twitter isn’t used by most Americans; drives little traffic to NPR; and “no longer has the public service relevance that it once had.” pic.twitter.com/35SrgCGqD1
— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) April 12, 2023
The commentator went on to argue that the decision to leave Twitter was made to please NPR’s liberal readership — not because of any genuine concern about the accuracy of the label. “It makes sense for the outlet to engage in some corporate virtue signaling by leaving,” he said.
Regardless of one’s political views, it’s clear that NPR’s decision to leave Twitter has sparked a debate about corporate virtue signaling. While some view the decision as an act of courage, others believe it is simply a way for the news organization to pander to its liberal readership.
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— NPR (@NPR) April 12, 2023