Media Bias, Andrew Yang, and The Golden Age of Social Media

Andrew Yang is the most exciting candidate you know nothing about. Even if you follow the campaign trail and religiously watch all of the Democratic Debates, he’s really just a name to you. He’s pulling ahead of candidates like Cory Booker and Julian Castro (shocker, right?) with his ambitious policy proposals, including giving every 18+ American $1,000/month (sign me up!), but his media coverage has been arguably the most sporadic.

His relationship with the mainstream media is so interesting— when else have we seen credible news outlets mess up so much? During the first debate, NBC allegedly switched Yang’s mic off. NBC says he’s wrong but there is a video of him attempting to talk and Joe Biden turning to look at him in response. You can decide if this is damning evidence, but there are numerous other times the media has stumbled over itself in its coverage of Yang.

I joke with my roommate that I have the following conspiracy theory: the mainstream media is #YangGang, but they have to be on the down-low about it, so they make “mistakes” that foster even more publicity. This theory definitely isn’t the Chuck E. Cheese pizza to my Shane Dawson, but the kinds of errors made are getting kind of ridiculous.

Credit: Vox News

In August, #YangMediaBlackout started trending on Twitter when CNN forgot to include Yang in a graphic of the six “Top Choice Dem. Nominees,” based on a recent Quinnipiac poll. Yang should’ve been in Beto O’Rourke’s spot, with a 3% instead of Beto’s 1%.

Earlier this month, MSNBC mistakenly labeled him as “John Yang.” Rookie mistake, right? I personally confuse the names “Andrew” and “John” all the time too.

Yang’s media attention is entirely disproportional to the waves he’s undeniably making. People argue that it’s because he’s an unknown figure fighting for a nomination against seated senators and seasoned politicians, but isn’t the fact that he’s polling higher than many of the established Democratic candidates enough to warrant more equal coverage?

Credit: Axios

Yang has also taken on a unique stance on the media— he supports subsidizing local journalism. His take doesn’t have the buzz of his proposed policy of raising beef prices to curb climate change, which has both barbeque bros and Fox News up in arms, but it’s a pretty big deal.

His supporters on Reddit have recently praised the increase in media attention given to Yang after popular videos like him doing the Cupid Shuffle and listing 23/24 of the Democratic candidates in a minute (compare to Bill de Blasio’s 11 or Pete Buttigieg’s 16) surfaced.

Whether you want to see more of Yang or you think he’s a fringe candidate that needs to bounce ASAP, there’s no denying that the next time the media messes up in its coverage him, it’ll be a big deal. At best, it’ll be highly entertaining, and at worse, it’ll serve as more evidence of media marginalization (as if we didn’t have enough beef with the media already).

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