Twitter users have flocked to the hashtag #DefundNPR in recent weeks, with the topic making it all the way to the platform’s trending page on October 22. The movement is a largely conservative one, putting pressure on National Public Radio in the wake of the organization’s decision to refrain from running a story about Hunter Biden.
What’s the story?
The piece revolves around potential dealings between Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and a Ukranian energy producer. As is so often the case these days, the dialogue has once again centered around a slew of emails and a laptop computer. While many on the right have clutched onto the story as a surefire way to catalyze the downfall of the Biden family, not everyone is convinced.
These details were summarized in a piece appearing in the New York Post earlier this month. Major media outlets like Facebook and Twitter responded by prohibiting users from proliferating the piece on their platforms. While the former pointed to its commitment to curtailing the dissemination of possible falsehoods as justification, the latter referenced the graphics used in the piece to conclude that it wasn’t up to snuff.
What does this have to do with NPR?
NPR has made it clear that they will not be discussing the New York Post piece as it relates to Hunter Biden. “There are many, many red flags in that New York Post investigation,” noted NPR’s Public Editor Kelly McBride. “And if that story could be verified, the NY Post did no forensic work to convince consumers that the emails and photos that are the basis for their report have not been altered.”
In response, prominent right-wing politicians ranging from Arizona’s Representative (and ex-dentist) Paul Gosar to media personality Steven Crowder have called for the withdrawal of federal funding NPR. Donald Trump Jr. even labelled the organization as a pusher of “false propaganda” in a Tweet on October 22.
What might this mean?
It is important to note that NPR is not funded solely by the federal government. The entity relies heavily upon resources from companies (like Trader Joe’s) to stay up and running. In fact, data from 2020 shows government contributions amounting to nearly 1% of its yearly budget for operations. However, the complete removal of federal capital could mean a significant shrinkage of NPR’s capabilities, especially at the community level.
What are your thoughts on the call to #DefundNPR? Let us know in the poll below.
Cover Photo by Hadis Malekie via Unsplash
Should NPR maintain its public funding?