PBS joins NPR in fleeing Twitter, and the yawns are deafening
As another crowd-supported outlet leaves the platform, we take a look at whether or not PBS’s departure has an impact.
Immediately after National Public Radio had its Twitter account affixed with the label “State-affiliated media”, there were harsh reactions in the media. The account went inactive and this eventually led to Elon Musk changing the label to now read “Government funded media”. This did not appease management and the announcement came yesterday that NPR would leave the social platform.
Today, the public broadcasting service announced that it would follow suit, also moving away from Twitter. There is a suggestion that this so-called omen as a sign other media leaking from the platform, which remains to be watched, but the antics and statements are countered by certain realities.
PBS is a relatively popular outlet, but scrolling through its recent posts, the level of engagement was barely a trickle. Currently, his account has 2.2 million followers, but some of the most active tweets have garnered only a few dozen replies and retweets, with most posts only generating a few.
What’s amazing/revealing about their departure from Twitter is how much no one has had any engagement with the @PBS account, despite having millions of followers.
The most active posts only had about 50 RTs, while most tweets only have a handful of people interacting. https://t.co/c6QrxqBDho pic.twitter.com/P9nZZUKBju
— Brad Slager: Just watching the walls come out… (@MartiniShark) April 13, 2023
NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn says Twitter was not a traffic driver at an appreciable level. He said a review of internal metrics showed less than two percent of the site’s traffic came from Twitter. That being the case, it seems his question to Elon Musk about NPR pulling about 52 accounts from the platform shouldn’t move the needle noticeably either.
This reality means that the dramatic exit from these outlets comes down to, “You won’t let us be ignored anymore!” » These promises to quit Twitter are also belied by the fact that so far neither NPR nor PBS have deleted their accounts. That doesn’t mean they have to take such action, but the reasons given for their departure seem to indicate that it would be a logical step.
Citing the “shadow of negativity” surrounding his journalism as a result of Elon’s label, NPR CEO John Lansing said: “I would never take our content anywhere that jeopardizes our credibility.” But if that’s the case, then why leave the account active, since people can currently remove it and see the tag still in the bio? The very thing NPR opposes is still on display.
The comedy was in the intemperate reactions from these outlets, as if it were a complete offense to suggest that either news network was a compromised source of information. Lansing, in comments made after the initial tag was placed on NPR’s account, tried to claim his outlet was above criticism.
NPR stands for free speech and empowering the powerful. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way. A vigorous and vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy.
On the three points, Lansing is obviously incorrect. His network hosted an hour-long media show, with many guests, all of whom criticized the concept of free speech. Its alleged support for a free press is countered by NPR, which constantly criticizes FoxNews and even gives airtime to a group seeking to bankrupt the network through ad boycotts. As for holding the powerful accountable, that’s laughable on the face of it, given the way he handles interference on behalf of Democrats. His infamous refusal to even touch the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop forever casts a shadow over NPR’s journalistic integrity.
But they are not alone on this front. PBS was also active – do it, “inactive” – on this report as well.
It wasn’t just @NPR get away from Hunter Biden’s laptop story. Watch how @PBS rejected it and relied heavily on the “Russian-made” narrative. pic.twitter.com/DqfKeR4oZW
— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) April 13, 2023
So it all comes down to a pair of biased and compromised media outlets with little interaction from users announcing they are leaving Twitter. You have to question some of the wisdom behind the moves, given that NPR struggles with small audiences leading to a wave of layoffs recently, which reduced its workforce by 10%. Making its content harder to find seems like a risky move at best.
That is, if many people even notice it.
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