Twenty-three community organizations representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders rallied around Democratic Presidential candiate Andrew Yang and his criticism of MSNBC.
The coalition of nonprofits released an open letter to MSNBC President Phil Griffin raising concerns about MSNBC’s apparent lack of coverage of Yang and the potential damage to the American democracy and racial equality; they urge MSNBC to provide fair coverage to all candidates.
They were responding to allegations that the news network was “ignoring” Yang.
“Depriving Mr. Yang of a fair share of airtime during the debate is depriving the American people of the fair opportunity to learn about a qualified candidate, and thus compromising our democracy,” the letter stated. “Furthermore, as we are embracing diversity and inclusion, MSNBC’s lack of coverage of Mr. Yang may deepen this country’s racial inequality, and also play right into the books of those who attack media as ‘Fake News.'”
Since Yang declared his intention to seek the highest office in the country, MSNBC has produced several graphics showing how the Democratic candidates were faring according to the national and state polls. In at least a dozen or more graphics, Yang’s name was omitted even though he was doing better than several other candidates who were included in the graphic.
The final straw, apparently, was last week’s debate hosted by MSNBC. During the two and one-half hour debate, Yang was allowed 6.8 minutes of speaking time, the least amount of air time among the ten candidates on stage and half of frontrunners Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete Bittigeig and former Vice President Joe Biden.
In an interview on CNN after the debate, Yang expressed his dismay at his apparent marginalization. The network invited the candidate to be a guest on one of the MSNBC programs but Yang rejected the offer until the network issues an on-air apology.
Over 1000 businesses, organizations and individuals also expressed support for the letter, printed on the letterhead of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs letterhead, is below:
Phil GriffinPresident, MSNBC30 Rockefeller PlazaNew York, NY 10112
Dear Mr. Griffin
Under your leadership, MSNBC has become one of America’s most influential cable news networks and attracts hundreds of millions of viewers. Congratulations on hosting the fifth Democratic Presidential Debate. We are community nonprofit organizations that do not intend to support or oppose any particular candidate here, but would like to raise our concerns and register our displeasure about your network’s unfair treatment of Mr. Andrew Yang, the first Asian American man to run for president as a Democrat in our nation’s history.
Mr. Yang was one of the 10 presidential candidates that participated in the debate in Atlanta on November 20, 2019. The American people expected each candidate would receive relatively equal amount of time to share their ideas on how to run our country as president, but MSNBC moderators did not let Mr. Yang speak for the first 32 minutes of the two-hour debate. CNN reported Mr. Yang only received 6.8 minutes speaking time, barely over half of the time Sen. Warren spoke (13.4 minutes). In addition, it’s reported MSNBC left Mr. Yang out 15 times in its coverage of presidential candidates, while including others who polled lower.
We were troubled by these oversights and equally worried about their damage to MSNBC’s credibility, to the American democracy, and to this country’s racial equality. Following the debate, many media outlets reported that Andrew Yang was “ignored” or had a “lack of speaking time”. Mr. Yang is one of the eight candidates that qualified for all five debates per DNC rules. RealClearPolitics’ national polling average shows Mr. Yang at 3%, ahead of three sitting senators, two House members, a governor and Mr. Mike Bloomberg. Depriving Mr. Yang of a fair share of airtime during the debate is depriving the American people of the fair opportunity to learn about a qualified candidate, and thus compromising our democracy. Furthermore, as we are embracing diversity and inclusion, MSNBC’s lack of coverage of Mr. Yang may deepen this country’s racial inequality, and also play right into the books of those who attack media as “Fake News”.
There are over 22 million Asian Americans in the U.S., which is the fastest growing ethnic group in our country; 51% of Asian Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher. It’s reported 43% of MSNBC’s audience has a bachelor’s degree or higher. The run for president by three Asian Americans, Mr. Andrew Yang, Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, has elevated Asian Americans’ participation in politics and civic affairs to a historical new height. Overlooking Mr. Yang’s candidacy in reporting the 2020 presidential election will lead to millions of Americans being uninformed and adversely impact our democracy.
We request that MSNBC
Give all the presidential candidates fair coverage, and Investigate the root causes of the incidents listed above about Andrew Yang and take corrective actions accordingly.
Thank you for your consideration. Please contact Joel Wong at (510) 999-5763 or [email protected] if you have any questions. We are looking forward to seeing MSNBC’s fair, transparent coverage of the 2020 elections and other important issues, and ongoing dialogue to ensure public trust of media and other institutions.
80-20 National Asian American PACAsian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA)Asian American Democratic Club (AADC)United Chinese Americans (UCA)Asian American Unity Coalition (AAUC)National Council of Chinese Americans (NCCA)APAPA New York ChapterAPAPA Ohio State ChapterAPAPA Peninsula ChapterAPAPA Southern California RegionAsian American Pacific Islander Coalition Of AlaskaAtlanta Chinese IT AssociationChinese Chamber of Commerce of New YorkChina Institute in North AmericaGreater Seattle Chinese Chamber of CommerceHouston Chinese AllianceMinnesota Chinese WorldMonterey Bay Chinese AssociationOhio Chinese American AssociationSan Diego Asian Americans For Equality FoundationUCA Illinois ChapterUCA Washington ChapterWestlake Chinese Culture Association
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