By Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Ranked dead last for talk time during the Nov. 20 Democratic presidential debate —Andrew Yang is accusing MSNBC of “suppressing” him and “ignoring” his campaign.
According to a New York Times analysis, Yang spoke for less time (6 minutes, 48 seconds) than any other candidate on the stage. The national polling average shows Yang at 3 percent, neck and neck with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and just above New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. However, both senators had more than 10 minutes of talking time. Even billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer, who is polling at less than 1 percent, received a larger share of time than Yang, clocking in at almost 8 1/2 minutes.
The debate was hosted by both MSNBC and the Washington Post in Atlanta.
Prior to the debate, MSNBC excluded Yang from a graphic on polling and one previewing the debate.
Appearing on CNN on Nov. 23, Yang said, “Americans tuned in to the debate… and they saw I got called on less than any other candidate—including candidates I am polling higher than—and the questions I did get had virtually nothing to do with the core ideas of my campaign.”
Yang added that MSNBC “omitted me from over a dozen fundraising and polling graphics” and noted on Twitter that the network had called him “John Yang” on air at one point.
“I’m not the kind of guy who takes offense easily, but at this point, you have to call it like you see it,” he said, adding that he’d like to know the “rationale” behind MSNBC “suppressing and ignoring me and my campaign for months.”
Yang told his supporters via Twitter that he had declined an invitation for an interview on MSNBC during the weekend following the debate.
“Was asked to appear on MSNBC … 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,” he tweeted. “They think we need them. We don’t.”
MSNBC declined to comment on Yang’s tweets.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the only other Asian American candidate aside from Sen. Kamala Harris, posted on Twitter, “So much for the promise of equal time for all candidates.”
Gabbard, a U.S. veteran who represents Hawaii’s second district, also had less than 10 minutes of speaking time, though she had more airtime than Yang.