NPR Claims Elon Musk Blocked Its Content, Then the Comedy Ensued

Townhall Media

By this point, NPR might want to just shut down its account to avoid more embarrassment.

The melodrama with National Public Radio and Elon Musk continues. 

As most know, the outlet got into a snit when Musk dared to attach a “state-affiliated media” label on its Twitter account, and the executives made the decision to leave the social platform. Select members still retain active accounts, however, and one of those is reporter Bobby Allyn, who had some breaking news as well as dubious claims of retaliation.


In a recent report, Allyn details that Elon Musk reached out to see if NPR was going to become active on the site again, and if not he proposed another option. Unbidden, Allyn stated that Musk sent him an email about the status of the outlet on Twitter.

In an unprompted Tuesday email, Musk wrote: “So is NPR going to start posting on Twitter again, or should we reassign @NPR to another company?

This was regarded as very bothersome, with Allyn speaking to a professor as well as a former Twitter executive to discuss the ramifications of this perceived threat. 

“If this is a sign of things to come on Twitter, we might soon see even more of a rapid retreat by media organizations and other brands that don’t think it’s worth the risk,” said Emily Bell, a professor at Columbia Journalism School who studies social media. “It’s really an extraordinary threat to make.”

Sure, but maybe let’s save the hysterics for when he actually does something? Sending a provocative email appears to be in line with Musk’s tendencies – and look, he managed to provoke a reaction from the outlet. Not unlike the years of Trump’s presidency, the press is more likely to fall for a trolling effort and overreact as intended. And as we will see, a number of media members overreacted with this story.


After some angry typing, Bobby Allyn went to Twitter to share his report, and this is when things take a comedic turn. After an attempt at posting his article, Allyn sent out another series of posts as he made a new proclamation about Musk.

Over a series of tweets, he shared his work in full, seemingly skirting the targeted ban on his work. This development was noticed by a number of other journalists, who then rushed in to defend Allyn and NPR, and disparage Musk. Judd Legum led the charge.

Also piling on was Justin Baragona, from The Daily Beast, as well as (with credit to Rep. Stacey Plaskett) so-called journalist Aaron Rupar. This outrage would not Stand! Well, in truth, their tweets would not stand. Rather quickly, the reporters put down their pitchforks and instead lunged for the DELETE buttons on their keyboards. It turns out that this problem with the posting was not the nefarious work of an angry social media platform owner but was actually what is regarded in tech circles as a PICNIC Default Error. Allyn was to blame for the problem.


This follows a pattern of questionable judgment seen by various members of the publicly-funded news outlet. Steve Inskeep recently declared himself to be a reliable account of information, while criticizing those who “inaccurately” said NPR quit Twitter – despite reports that NPR had in fact quit Twitter. Coming from NPR. As I covered on the recent Lie-Able Sources Podcast, current WHCA President Tamara Keith is a veteran of NPR, and while the outlet boisterously denied it was beholden to the government there she was, at the podium for Saturday’s Correspondents Dinner, gushing how President Biden and VP Kamala Harris were both in attendance and that they were enthusiastic supporters of journalism. 

We still do not know just how serious Musk was with his comment about redistributing the @NPR account. All the news outlet has to do is log into the account at least once a month and it will trigger activity in the system. What we do know is that Musk did not block the article, and there is another detail to add to the mirth. Bobby Allyn, the journalist who leaped to blame Musk while being the man who could not load the link properly – he is NPR’s, Technology Reporter.

Indonesia G20 Musk
AP Photo/Aaron Favila


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