Maine Public followed national affiliates in suspending activity on Twitter on Thursday after a dispute with the social media site’s billionaire owner over calling National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System “government-funded media.”
The Maine TV and radio affiliate made the announcement in a Thursday post from CEO Rick Schneider, who called the label a false implication that “strikes at the very foundation of public media.”
“Our editorial independence and the integrity of our journalism and journalists speaks to our core values shared by everyone in the organization,” he wrote.
The dispute between Twitter and the public broadcasters began last week, when the site owned and run by Tesla founder Elon Musk gave NPR a “state-affiliated media” designation like media organizations in China, Russia and North Korea that lack editorial independence from their authoritarian governments.
Those badges were updated over the weekend to the “government-funded” version. It still irked the broadcasters because they have editorial independence. NPR also gets just 1 percent of its funding from the federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting, while PBS says federal money provides 15 percent of the funding for the public television system.
Maine Public, which has not gotten any label from Twitter, gets roughly 14 percent of its funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, plus a direct state appropriation for managing an emergency communications system, Schneider wrote. Most of the Maine affiliate’s money comes from individual and corporate donations and foundation support.
NPR and PBS suspended use of Twitter on Wednesday, prompting other affiliates to follow suit. Their accounts are still live, but they are not posting new content there.