Elon Musk Had The Most Juvenile Response To Canadian Broadcast Co's 'Government-Funded' Label Complaint
Elon Musk changed the label denoting Canadian Broadcasting Company's funding in an adolescent attempt to clap back at @CBC's complaint about being called 'government-funded.'
Elon Musk isn't exactly known for his mature responses to literally anyone disagreeing with him, so his most recent response to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) will probably not come as much of a surprise to most.
Twitter recently labeled several public broadcasting companies, including National Public Radio (NPR) and CBC, as "government-funded entities," and many of those broadcasters have taken issue with the label—saying it is intended to undermine their credibility.
NPR publicly quit Twitter earlier in the week in response to the label, which was initially "state-affiliated media" (a term also used to label outlets controlled or heavily influenced by authoritarian governments like China or Russia) before Twitter changed it to "government-funded."
An NPR representative said the broadcaster:
"... will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent."
CBC likewise quit the platform this week, citing the label as the reason.
A statement from CBC spokesman Leon Mar released on Monday described their reasoning.
"Twitter can be a powerful tool for our journalists to communicate with Canadians, but it undermines the accuracy and professionalism of the work they do to allow our independence to be falsely described in this way."
"Consequently, we will be pausing our activity on our corporate Twitter account and all CBC and Radio-Canada news-related accounts."
CBC also sent a letter to Twitter asking that the label be reconsidered.
Instead of properly considering the request, Musk responded in the most juvenile way possible. He had the label changed to "69% Government-funded Media."
Then shared his childishness in a Twitter post.
\u201cCanadian Broadcasting Corp said they\u2019re \u201cless than 70% government-funded\u201d, so we corrected the label\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
Likely hoping to elicit praise from his fanbase.
There were certainly plenty of people laughing at his attempt at trolling, but his fans were far from the only ones who responded.
Some asked whether he was going to label heavily biased outlets too.
\u201c@elonmusk Are you going to put an \u201cAmerican owned\u201d label on National Post and Toronto Sun?\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
Others simply pointed out the difference between state-owned media and public broadcasting companies.
\u201c@elonmusk You either don't understand the difference between state-owned propaganda media & public broadcasting companies legally bound by editorial independence, or you're intentionally trying to blur the lines between the two. Either way, @elonmusk, you're dangerously ignorant.\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
\u201c@elonmusk No, you haven't. Twitter says the label also means: "and may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content."\nThis is completely false and in error. The Government has no input into CBC editorial work whatsoever.\nPlease correct your mistake.\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
Some weren't mad, just disappointed.
\u201c@elonmusk For whatever reason, I keep expecting you to be better than this. Maybe because I know you *can* be \u2014 yet you\u2019re choosing not to.\n\nYou\u2019re basically like an artist who can create magnificent masterpieces, but instead of using your talent, you stay home and smear shit on the wall.\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
\u201c@elonmusk Dear Elon, do you suffer from late adolescence syndrome? tell me please\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
\u201c@elonmusk It\u2019s not enough to have his own site. Elon wants you to believe he\u2019s the ultimate arbiter of truth. That\u2019s what the $44 billion was for\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
\u201c@GettiKight @elonmusk I look forward to the day when Elon says something truthful.\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
\u201c@elonmusk So you're just going to brow-beat every English Language Public Service Media until they all leave the platform? What's your endgame here?\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1681781188
In the letter to Twitter, Mar argued that the label was inaccurate for CBC because an independent board of directors determines how the funds it receives from the Canadian government and other sources are spent.
NPR also argued that the term was inaccurate and misleading, since a majority of their funding does not come from the United States government.
According to NPR's own website:
"On average, less than 1% of NPR's annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from CPB and federal agencies and departments."
Public news outlets aren't the only ones being targeted since Musk took over Twitter. Earlier this month, the verification checkmark was removed from The New York Times' Twitter account after the news outlet said that it would not pay the new fees Twitter announced for verified organizations.
Disclosing influences, financial interests, or biases that might not be readily apparent to consumers is certainly important in journalism, but inaccurately labeling public broadcasters as "state-affiliated" or even "government-funded" when that isn't the reality is not helpful.