The Juneau-based public media outlet, KTOO, which accepted more than $2.5 million in federal grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 2021, has joined National Public Radio in quitting Twitter.
On April 12, NPR tweeted a thread telling its national following that it was leaving Twitter after the platform labeled it as “US state-affiliated media.”
NPR, which has a reputation for broadcasting slanted, left-wing news and features, dropped its 52 Twitter feeds because of Twitter’s decision to prominently display the fact that NPR is partially underwritten by the federal government.
NPR has complained that the Twitter label undermines its reputation and draws into question the outlet’s independence in reporting the news. Twitter has since updated NPR’s tag to read, “Government-funded Media.”
In joining NPR’s decision to quit Twitter, Alaska’s KTOO posted a short tweet on April 13 stating, “We are no longer posting here.”
While Twitter has not labeled KTOO as “Government-funded media,” the outlet is one of more than two dozen public news outlets in Alaska that together accepted more than $16 million in federally-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants in FY2021. The other 27 Alaska stations are listed here.
KTOO’s coverage includes a heavy dose of NPR-affiliated news content, which regularly skews left of center, promoting Democratic Party issues like abortion, LGBTQ politics, critical race theory and the general expansion of government run programs, services, advisories and policies.
In announcing its departure from Twitter, NPR asserted that Twitter’s decision to label it “government-funded media” is “inaccurate and misleading.” The nonprofit then conceded that it does, in fact, accept “less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”
But this statement may be misleading as well.
According to NPR’s own financial statements, it is heavily supported by fees from local NPR member organizations, such as KTOO. These groups, in turn, rake in millions from the federal government in order to stay afloat.
NPR then charges these local affiliates to use its content, and also exacts a “core fee” based on how much revenue the member stations generate. The annual revenue from these local stations, however, is comprised of about 13% in grants from the federal Corporation of Public Broadcasting and other state and federal sources.
“Federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American public and its continuation is critical for both stations and program producers, including NPR,” the NPR website openly admits. “Public radio stations receive annual grants directly from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) that make up an important part of a diverse revenue mix…”
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
The company then notes that these local stations programing fees “comprise a significant portion of NPR’s largest source of revenue. The loss of federal funding would undermine the stations’ ability to pay NPR for programming, thereby weakening the institution.”
It adds: “Elimination of federal funding would result in fewer programs, less journalism — especially local journalism — and eventually the loss of public radio stations…”
In challenging NPR’s outrage over being accurately labeled as “government funded media,” The Federalist posted an article questioning the claim that federal funding comprises a minuscule portion of NPR’s revenue.
“If the government funding provided to NPR is as small and insignificant as the outlet claims, then why accept it at all?” the article stated. “Moreover, if the outlet is so concerned about being accurately labeled as ‘government-funded media,’ then wouldn’t the easiest solution be to reject what supposedly small amount of funding it receives from federal bureaucrats?