Presidential candidate Andrew Yang was speaking out on Twitter about MSNB in November after he was left out of coverage again. He said that MSNBC asked him to appear on air over the weekend in late November, and he said he would do so, but only after they apologized on-air. The demands, he said, have come after being left out of MSNBC graphics more than 12 times, along with other issues. Here’s a look at the issues between Yang and MSNBC, including some of the graphics that did not include him which sparked trends about a “Yang Media Blackout.”
MSNBC Left Andrew Yang Off Some Graphics Since March, & Apologized Sometimes for the Errors
MSNBC’s coverage of Andrew Yang has been the source of a lot of debate. One good account to follow for updates is Scott Santens on Twitter. Santens, editor of the UBI News Hub, has been documenting many of these instances, so you will see quite a few of his tweets in this story. He has a documented list of media blackouts in his story here. Meanwhile, the Twitter account Memes4Yang is documenting MSNBC’s apologies to Yang. It’s not known why some of the instances happened.
The controversy came back into the spotlight after Yang tweeted on November 23 about an invitation from MSNBC. He wrote: “Was asked to appear on @msnbc this weekend – and told them that I’d be happy to after they apologize on-air, discuss and include our campaign consistent with our polling, and allow surrogates from our campaign as they do other candidates’. They think we need them. We don’t… They’ve omitted me from their graphics 12+ times, called me John Yang on air, and given me a fraction of the speaking time over 2 debates despite my polling higher than other candidates on stage. At some point you have to call it… The whole time we have gotten stronger. This is actually bad for MSNBC. It will only get worse after I make the next debates and keep rising in the polls. The people are smarter than MSNBC would like to think.”
Here’s a look at some of the times he was left off graphics or coverage on MSNBC, dating back to March.
In March, Yang was left off MSNBC’s list of all the announced presidential candidates.
In April 2019, Yang was left off an MSNBC graphic even though he was polling higher than three other candidates on the graphic. Joy Reid said it was a mistake and they would fix it.
Here’s a tweet from MSNBC from April that excludes Yang from the 2020 Democratic candidates.
On April 28, while MSNBC was interviewing Yang, a graphic was shown by MSNBC that left Yang off.
In May/June, Yang was polling better than many of the people who were included in the graphic from MSNBC below.
Also in May, Yang was excluded from an MSNBC graphic showing the top contenders, even though he was polling higher than seven of the candidates.
During the Poor People’s Campaign Forum in June, MSNBC spoke over Yang’s appearance. A video tweeted by HumanityFirstX used to show this, but the Twitter account is now gone.
Here’s an MSNBC graphic from June where Yang’s picture was missing and some candidates who didn’t qualify for the debates were included:
And another tweet from MSNBC in June, showing candidates including ones that Yang was outpolling.
In the photo above, Marianne Williamson was also missing. However, it appears that two other candidates who didn’t qualify were in the graphic. After a lot of complaints online, MSNBC fixed the graphic.
Then in late June, MSNBC showed Yang’s photo in a list of Top 8 candidates and read every name but Yang’s.
Around the same time, MSNBC had a graphic showing the top 7 candidates. Yang, who was polling at 1.1 percent at the time in late June, would have been the eighth on the graphic.
As Yang started doing better in polls and kept making the requirements for the Democratic debates, supporters expected his representation in graphics to improve, but it did not.
In August, MSNBC invited Yang to speak about the Ohio shootings and then cut away to focus on Bernie Sanders.
Yang was included in this August 14 graphic, but he could barely be seen.
On September 5, NBC published a webpage of all the 2020 candidates and left Yang off. He was outpolling five of the candidates on the page at the time.
In September, Ari Melber apologized for an error about Yang during a segment on The Beat.
In early September, NBC posted a graphic listing the 10 candidates on the debate stage and Yang was not included. Yang tweeted about it.
Michael Hopper, senior producer for NBC, apologized.
About a month ago in September, reports surfaced that MSNBC live anchor Stephanie Rhule had tweeted that Yang should have been included on an MSNBC graphic. But that tweet appears to be gone, although the discussion about it on Reddit remains.
On Reddit, one person wrote: “The fact that the tweet has been deleted makes this whole thing even MORE upsetting.”
On October 24, six candidates polled at 1 percent in a poll but only Beto O’Rourke’s 1 percent was included.
In ironic coverage on November 10, a report on how cable news was covering candidates left Yang off the graphic, although O’Rourke was included even though he had dropped out of the race. At the time, Santens said that only five candidates were outpolling Yang that week.
On November 17, Yang was left off a graphic showing how candidates were polling in the Iowa caucus. He was polling at 3 percent, higher than some candidates who were included.
MSNBC apologized for the oversight during a broadcast. They redid the graphic.
MSNBC wrote: “Earlier on UP, we aired a poll graphic that inadvertently left off @AndrewYang. This was a mistake that we’ve since corrected on air. We apologize to Mr. Yang. Here’s the correct graphic.”
Yang Said His Mic Was Muted During the June Debate Hosted by NBC, MSNBC, & Telemundo
During a June 2019 debate hosted by MSNBC, NBC, and Telemundo, Yang said his mic was muted on more than one occasion. This was not the first time he encountered issues with MSNBC, but this was the first time an issue was widely shared online.
Here’s a video that shows Yang trying to speak during the debate. At one point you can see Yang appearing to open his mouth and speak, but unlike the other candidates, his voice isn’t heard. NBC News told Newsweek that the mic was never turned off. “At no point during the debate was any candidate’s microphone turned off or muted.”
Here’s the same video on YouTube.
It appears from the video that either his own mic was muted and he was faintly picked up by other mics, or his mic was leveled down. However, NBC has said this did not happen. Others have pointed out that you can see Joe Biden turning to look at Yang in the video above, indicating that he was talking loud enough for those near him to hear him, but not anyone else.
An alert reader on Twitter also brought up another possible instance.
The video is here and can’t be embedded. Just before 2:24, listen as Pete Buttigieg is speaking. When he finishes his speech, you can see Yang trying to talk but it appears his voice is picked up by Buttigieg’s mic. Then Yang touches his mic as if to indicate it’s not working.
Yang tweeted about his mic being turned off unless he was called on.
Marianne Williamson, who was also in the debate, has said her mic was muted at times, too.
NBC News told Newsweek that the mic was never turned off. “At no point during the debate was any candidate’s microphone turned off or muted.”
Now Some Yang Supporters Are Considering Boycotting MSNBC Advertisers & Protesting
Brian Yang tweeted that he feels like the silencing of Yang is a symptom of systematic racism. Brian Yang is Andrew Yang’s regional fundraising director.
Meanwhile, some Yang supporters are organizing a protest to take place outside MSNBC headquarters on Sunday, November 24 at noon.
Redditor YangsterSupreme wrote: “MSNBC HQ is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza; New York City, New York. This isn’t an official event sponsored by the campaign btw this is organized by the Yang Gang. Spread the word as much as possible! We need to put more pressure on MSNBC because words and hashtags alone aren’t enough! We need to take action! LET YANG SPEAK!!!”
Others are calling for a boycott of MSNBC’s top sponsors.
Not all supporters agree with the boycotts and protests, so it’s unclear at this time how many will participate. Some supporters believe the time would be better spent knocking on doors and reaching out to new people. This is a developing story.
If you have comments about this story or additional examples of uneven news coverage, tweet the author of this article.