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Musk's Twitter marks BBC, NPR as 'government funded' but not Tesla or SpaceX
Government funding directly or indirectly has been crucial to many of Musk's start ups.
Musk's Twitter marks BBC, NPR as 'government funded' but not Tesla or SpaceX
by Adam Schrader
Washington DC (UPI) Apr 11, 2023

Elon Musk's Twitter marked the BBC and NPR as "government-funded" on Saturday but has not applied the label to Tesla or SpaceX - which have received billions in subsidies.

Despite the significant contributions of federal and local governments to his businesses, Twitter this week decided to label NPR as "state-affiliated" media.

After pushback from NPR, Twitter has since changed the label to read "government funded."

NPR is a non-profit organization that receives funding through corporate sponsors, membership fees, grants and fees paid to the Public Radio Satellite System. Some NPR affiliate stations also receive some funding from state and local governments, though NPR said 99% of its funds do not come from federal sources.

The BBC has since also received the label, despite not receiving any funding from the British government. The news provider is funded by the British public through a license fee, not through a tax-based system, and its operations are independent of the influence of the British government.

The British government does provide some funding for the BBC World Service but a review by UPI shows that the label was applied to the Twitter account for @BBC and not @bbcworldservice.

"State-affiliated media is defined as outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution," Twitter's rules and policies show.

"Accounts belonging to state-affiliated media entities, their editors-in-chief, and/or their prominent staff may be labeled. We will also add labels to Tweets that share links to state-affiliated media websites."

Twitter's rules and policies do not provide a definition for "state-funded" or specify that the label is meant solely for media organizations.

Musk's companies together had received at least $4.9 billion in government funds and support by 2015, according to an investigation from the Los Angeles Times published that year, suggesting that his company's may also qualify to receive the label.

The organization Good Jobs First has a complete list of 110 subsidies awarded for Tesla alone dating back to 2007.

Other government money Tesla has received includes a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to sell its fuel-efficient cars in 2010, according to the department's website.

Texas, in 2013, created a corporation that has since given $13.2 million in economic incentives for SpaceX to create its rocket launch pad, according to The Verge. The company has also received $2 million in subsidies from local governments to upgrade its engine development facility in the state.

Furthermore, the state of Nevada offered $1.3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives for Tesla to build a lithium-ion battery factory known as the "Gigafactory" in 2015.

In 2016, New York State put $750 million into a plant in Buffalo for SolarCity, a roof solar panel company that was then acquired by Tesla. The facility is now known as Tesla Gigafactory 2.

Then, in July 2020, Musk's Tesla reportedly accepted some of the $600 billion in funds offered by the U.S. government amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a filing the company made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

That same year, Musk's SpaceX and United Launch Alliance won billions from the U.S. military for a contract to launch about three dozen national security missions from 2022 to 2026.

In 2021, SpaceX won another $2.9 billion contract to develop the company's Starship rocket as a lunar lander for Artemis moon missions - and last year, SpaceX won a $1.4 billion contract from NASA to fly missions to the International Space Station.

However, the Federal Communications Commission denied SpaceX nearly $900 million in rural broadband subsidies for its Starlink service.

Source: United Press International

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