In the latest escalation of Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s spat with NPR, Musk has threatened to reassign the outlet’s Twitter account to another company.
National Public Radio (NPR) recently threw a tantrum over being labeled as “state-affiliated media” on Twitter, vowing to leave the platform completely if Musk didn’t remove the accurate label. Twitter later changed the label to “government-funded media,” which NPR said wasn’t good enough, despite the fact that it literally is partially funded by the government.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 12, 2023
NPR appeared to be angered by the label because the outlet viewed the designation of being associated with the government as an assertion that its reporting was influenced by the government.
“NPR and our member stations are supported by millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide,” wrote John Lansing, the CEO and president of NPR. “It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way. A vigorous, vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy.”
Musk ultimately gave in to NPR’s demands, removing the label entirely, but that still wasn’t good enough for NPR apparently — as the outlet still has yet to return to Twitter. NPR has not published any tweets on its account since April 4.
Now, the outlet is publishing emails between NPR and Musk — which included the Twitter CEO asking if he should reassign their account with more than 9 million followers to another person or company, telling the outlet that they will not receive “special treatment.”
“So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?” Musk wrote, according to NPR.
“Our policy is to recycle handles that are definitively dormant,” the Twitter CEO wrote in a different email. “Same policy applies to all accounts. No special treatment for NPR.”
After NPR questioned what company could be given their Twitter account, Musk replied “National Pumpkin Radio,” with a laughing emoji.
“NPR isn’t tagged as government-funded anymore, so what’s the beef?” he asked.
Following NPR’s publishing of their email conversation, Musk sent the outlet another email with no text in the body of the message, just two words in the subject line: “You suck.”