Democratic presidential candidate and universal basic income advocate Andrew Yang has been omitted and ignored by MSNBC many times, which has led to a backlash from him, supporters, and many political commentators. Despite this, it appears that the network is still having trouble covering his campaign — it recently listed the 44-year-old serial entrepreneur as a billionaire, despite Forbes estimating his net worth to be around $1 million.
Although MSNBC apologized for the error, Yang’s supporters — as well as some commentators — don’t appear to be buying the apology.
“At what point do Yang and the campaign have a legal case against @MSNBC?” one supporter wrote. “Telling millions of Democratic viewers he’s a billionaire is blatantly libelous and will move those on the fence further away from him. It’s spitting in the faces of all of us who’ve donated and volunteered.”
“This is a straight-up lie,” another supporter wrote before asking if MSNBC broadcasts similar “lies” about other candidates.
“Andrew Yang is not a billionaire,” tweeted The Hill’s Rising co-host Saagar Enjeti. “Seriously how does this keep happening?”
The network may have mistaken Yang for Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, who Business Insider reported recently pledged to give away $9 billion to 1,000 Twitter followers.
Previously, MSNBC mistakenly referred to the Democrat as John Yang — an Asian American special correspondent for PBS NewsHour.
— Brian Yang (@briflys) January 13, 2020
Other outlets have also been prone to making mistakes about Yang and his campaign. CNBC recently aired the wrong image for Yang on a Squawk Box chyron, putting the picture of Silicon Valley investor Geoff Yang — also an Asian American — in his place. In the same chyron, fellow presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s photo was swapped with former candidate Kirsten Gillibrand.
The frequent mistakes have led supporters to accuse MSNBC of intentionally misrepresenting Yang, while others suggest that racism may also be a factor. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Marie Myung-Ok Lee suggested that Yang’s apparent invisibility to mainstream media reflects her own experience as an Asian American.
“There is no way to prove these omissions are related to Yang’s being Asian, but it’s impossible to miss the similarities with the micro (and macro) aggressions people in the Asian American community experience daily.”
Yang is sixth in the polls with an average of 3.5 percent support. Despite polling better overall than some other candidates, such as Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer, he will also not be appearing at Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate.