Community Groups Write an Open Letter to MSNBC President about Unfair Coverage of Andrew Yang, 2020 Presidential Candidate

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Joel Wong
| (510) 999-5763

Community Groups Write an Open Letter to MSNBC President about Unfair Coverage of Andrew Yang, 2020 Presidential Candidate

SACRAMENTO, CA – A coalition of community non-profit organizations representing Asian Americans released an open letter to MSNBC President Phil Griffin raising concerns about MSNBC’s lack of coverage of Andrew Yang, and the potential damage to the American democracy and racial equality. The letter is below.


Phil Griffin

President, MSNBC

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112

Dear Mr. Griffin,

Under your leadership, MSNBC has become one of American’s most influential cable news networks and attracts hundreds of millions of audiences. Congratulations on hosting the fifth Democratic Presidential Debate. We are nonprofit community 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 a 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 deeply 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 “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 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, Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Mr. Andrew Yang, 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 equal 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 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 the public trust of media and other institutions.


80-20 National Asian American PAC

Asian 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 Chapter

APAPA Ohio State Chapter

APAPA Peninsula Chapter

APAPA Southern California Region

Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition Of Alaska

Atlanta Chinese IT Association

Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York

Houston Chinese Alliance

Minnesota Chinese World

Monterey Bay Chinese Association(MBCA)

Ohio Chinese American Association (OCAA)

San Diego Asian Americans For Equality Foundation

UCA Illinois Chapter

UCA Washington Chapter

Westlake Chinese Culture Association


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