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A Visual History of the #YangMediaBlackout

Scott Santens
Scott Santens
17 min read
A Visual History of the #YangMediaBlackout

A historical record of mainstream media exclusions of Andrew Yang (Last Updated: 2/12/2020)

Back in June of 2019, I tweeted about the latest egregious example of MSNBC excluding Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang from their ongoing coverage of the 2020 Presidential candidates. There had been previous examples, but that was the worst up to that point because they had photos of all 20 candidates who were going to be in the first debates, and instead of including Yang as one of them, they included someone who wasn't even going to be there. I then started to add each new example as a new reply, and that ongoing thread has now been covered over and over again with each new example as a source of entertaining absurdity. It's been covered by traditional media outlets like The Guardian, Vox, and The Hill. It's also been covered by new media like Ethan and Hila Klein of the H3 Podcast for their two million subscribers.

I have gotten many requests to put the entire thread in one place outside of Twitter, so this article has been created to meet that request. Each time a new example occurs, I will update the thread on Twitter, and update this page on Vocal too.

I have also made a point here of expanding on the thread in a way I can't on Twitter, by expanding the timeline with earlier examples that had occurred before I started my thread. So instead of starting in June, this timeline starts back in March...

March 9, 2019:

On MSNBC's "Up", a long list of names was displayed while the host discussed the many possibilities of who could end up winning the Democratic nomination. The list contained both the names of those who had already announced, were expected to announce, and who might possibly announce. Missing from the list was Andrew Yang, who filed with the FEC back in November of 2017. Note too the blank space for another name.

Source: MSNBC on YouTube

March 15, 2019:

Beto O'Rourke joins the race and NBC lists eleven other candidates already in the race, without listing Bernie Sanders or Andrew Yang.

Source: Reddit

March 18, 2019:

Andrew Yang excluded from list of all announced Democratic candidates.

Source: /r/YangForPresidentHQ

March 19, 2019:

Andrew Yang excluded again from list of all Democratic candidates.

Source: /r/YangForPresidentHQ

April 17, 2019:

Andrew Yang excluded again from list of all Democratic candidates.

Source: Morning Joe

April 25, 2019:

Andrew Yang excluded again from list that has grown to include Joe Biden.

April 28, 2019:

During an interview with Andrew Yang, to his face, he's shown this list of all candidates, which again excludes him, even though they're talking to him.

Source: Weekends with Alex Witt

May 17, 2019:

With the list of candidates now exceeding twenty, Andrew Yang is excluded yet again, despite outpolling seven of the candidates listed.

May 30, 2019:

During coverage of impeachment proceedings, MSNBC displayed a graphic designed to show where all of the Democratic candidates stood on the potential impeachment of Donald Trump. Missing was Andrew Yang.


June 9, 2019:

Andrew Yang excluded again from list of candidates running, despite outpolling half of them.

June 22, 2019:

Listing all twenty candidates who will be in the first debate over two nights, Andrew Yang is excluded to make room for a candidate who didn't even qualify for the debate. This marks the beginning of my thread on Twitter.

June 25, 2019:

On Morning Joe, every candidate's name in the top eight is read aloud, except for Andrew Yang's. Be sure to watch the video.

June 26, 2019:

In their coverage of a MoveOn poll, MSNBC excludes Andrew Yang, despite their obviously being room for him, and it looking odd to do so.

June 27, 2019:

Despite outpolling half the stage, Andrew Yang is asked the fewest questions at the first debate hosted by NBC.

June 28, 2019:

In one of the more amusing examples, MSNBC's graphic is turned off right when Andrew Yang's name is mentioned.

June 29, 2019:

In another odd-looking example, Andrew Yang is excluded despite it looking weird to do so with four names on the left and three on the right.

June 30, 2019:

Yet again, Andrew Yang is excluded in a way that makes the graphic look like something is weirdly missing.

July 4, 2019:

In this example, Andrew Yang is either missing entirely or is located in the lower left-hand corner behind the chyron.

July 11, 2019:

Given the opportunity to describe Andrew Yang's platform, MSNBC chooses to exclude all three of his main policies: The Freedom Dividend, Medicare for All, and Human-Centered Capitalism, and instead lists six of his lesser-known policies.

August 4, 2019:

Having invited Andrew Yang to speak about the mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, MSNBC cuts away while speaking to Yang to cover Bernie Sanders.

August 9, 2019:

In their coverage of the poll that qualified Andrew Yang for the fall debates, MSNBC excludes Yang.

August 14, 2019:

In this example, MSNBC includes Andrew Yang, but makes sure to put him in the very back and block him from the shot.

August 15, 2019:

Given a poll where three candidates polled at 2%, two of them are included while Andrew Yang is not.

August 27, 2019:

Given a poll where Andrew Yang polled 7th highest, CNN chooses to exclude him and leave four spaces empty.

August 28, 2019:

In their coverage of a Quinnipiac poll where Andrew Yang ranked 6th highest, CNN decides to exclude Yang and instead include Beto O'Rourke who didn't even make the top six. In a correction, they later remove Beto, but continue to exclude Yang.

September 2, 2019:

In a graphic that is obviously ordered from highest to lowest ranking in the polls, Andrew Yang is moved from 6th to 9th, while Klobuchar is moved from 10th to what should have been Yang's position.

September 5, 2019:

Listing the 10 candidates who will appear in the September debate, MSNBC lists only nine candidates. Andrew Yang is missing.

September 6, 2019:

On NBC's website full of candidates, for some reason Andrew Yang had no listed profile. This omission was later corrected.

September 9, 2019:

In one of the more infamous examples, Andrew Yang was listed as John Yang while crowdsurfing, causing #WhoIsJohnYang to trend on Twitter.

September 12, 2019:

Analysis of ABC coverage reveals Andrew Yang had been provided with two seconds of coverage despite outpolling others given orders of magnitude more time.

September 21, 2019:

Reporting on the Iowa Steak Fry, MSNBC created a graphic that excluded not only Andrew Yang, but also Bernie Sanders and five other candidates who attended the event. Snopes reached out to MSNBC to comment on this one. They did not respond.

Source tweet

October 3, 2019:

After hauling in $10 million in the third quarter, CNN chose to exclude Andrew Yang and instead include Cory Booker who raised $4 million less.

Source tweet

October 5, 2019:

In a graphic with one error, its Andrew Yang where the mistake was made.

Source tweet

October 13, 2019:

Reporting on the results of a Fox News poll, CNN chose to include Cory Booker, but not Andrew Yang, despite both getting 2% in the poll.

Source tweet

October 19, 2019:

In their reporting of the candidates with the most cash in hand, MSNBC chose to exclude Andrew Yang, and instead include Cory Booker who had less cash on hand.

Source tweet

October 22, 2019:

Deciding to do a special on climate change where the top seven Democratic candidates are asked about their climate change policies, the Weather Channel chose to exclude Andrew Yang, despite being ranked 6th.

Source tweet

October 24, 2019:

Reporting on a new poll where six candidates polled at 1%, CNN decided to include only Beto, while excluding Andrew Yang and four other candidates.

Source tweet

October 31, 2019:

When Andrew Yang achieved his first qualifying poll for the December debate, MSNBC chose to exclude him from the poll results, despite showing Tulsi Gabbard. They both got 5% in New Hampshire.

October 31, 2019:

When 300 schools in Iowa held a mock election, Andrew Yang got the 4th highest number of votes. Local ABC affiliates chose to display Pete Buttigieg in 4th. They later corrected their story and said all the votes hadn't come in yet at the time of reporting, but nowhere in the original story did they say the results weren't final, and despite Biden, Yang, and Pete all being virtually tied at 7%, they chose to show only Biden and Pete.

Source tweet

November 10, 2019:

In a report on how cable news is disproportionately covering the Presidential candidates, MSNBC chose to exclude Andrew Yang from a graphic which listed 10 candidates, including Beto O'Rourke who had already dropped out of the race. For the record, only five candidates were outpolling Yang during the week listed, and he got 0.5% of the coverage.

Source tweet

November 17, 2019:

In one of the most egregious examples so far, MSNBC reported on the results of a Des Moines Register poll by including every candidate who polled over 0%, except Andrew Yang who polled at 3%. Notable in this exclusion is their inclusion of Michael Bloomberg who has yet to officially announce that he's even running, and the fact there's an empty spot.

Source tweet

November 20, 2019:

Reporting on a new poll and how little support Pete Buttigieg is showing among black voters in South Carolina, CNN created a graphic that excluded Steyer at 4%, and Yang, Williamson, and Patrick at 1% each.

Source tweet

November 20, 2019:

With ten minutes to go before the fifth Democratic debate began on their own network, MSNBC caught up viewers on the latest polling averages by excluding Andrew Yang in rapid succession from their graphics for national polling average, Iowa polling average, and New Hampshire polling average.

Source tweet
Source tweet
Source tweet

Upon the end of the fifth debate, Andrew Yang was once again provided the least amount of speaking time for the second time in an MSNBC-hosted debate and fourth time overall. Yang even got no time at all for the entire first 32 minutes.

Source: CNN

November 26, 2019:

Despite having been called out by Andrew Yang himself for their treatment of him, where he even cited this very article as evidence, MSNBC excludes him yet again, this time from a graphic displaying firm support in New Hampshire, where he should be listed as having the third strongest support, below only Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard (who is also missing).

Source tweet

December 17, 2019:

Using their news ticker at the bottom of the screen, CNN displayed the name of every candidate to be on the stage in the December debate except for Andrew Yang.

December 17, 2019:

As the host for the December debate, PBS created a promo for it. Missing from the promo was Andrew Yang. PBS swiftly apologized for the error.

Source tweet

December 24, 2019:

Reporting on the race in New Hampshire, MSNBC created a montage of eight candidates. Andrew Yang was missing despite being ranked sixth in NH at the time.

January 6, 2020:

Quickly considered by many to be among the most ridiculous examples yet, CNBC while reporting on fourth quarter fundraising totals, used a photo of Geoff Yang instead of Andrew Yang, and a photo of Kirsten Gillibrand instead of Tulsi Gabbard. As Geoff responded on Twitter, he is not running for President.

Source tweet

January 12, 2020:

Instead of excluding Andrew Yang, this time MSNBC included him, but misreported to their viewers that he is a billionaire. Only Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg have lower net worths than Andrew Yang. All of the rest of the candidates are wealthier than him. The only billionaires in the Democratic presidential race are Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.

Source tweet

February 1, 2020:

In the final days before the Iowa caucus, NBC covered the candidates making their final pitches. Not mentioned was Andrew Yang who had been doing multiple campaign stops a day for weeks. NBC did however take the time to talk about someone who wasn't even running - Hillary Clinton.

February 5, 2020:

Two days before the eighth Democratic debate, which would mark the return of Andrew Yang to the debate stage, the Washington Post created this illustration. Apparently what qualified as "what to know" about the next debate, was not that Yang would be there.

Source: Washington Post

February 7, 2020:

On the night of the eighth debate, despite then being the lone person of color on stage, and also someone who had triumphantly returned to the stage after missing the previous one, Andrew Yang was once again provided the least amount of speaking time. It wasn't even close.

Source: The New York Times

February 8, 2020:

On the day following the eighth debate, article after article after article made no mention at all of Andrew Yang, including the NYT who printed this large photo of every candidate who had been there, except for Yang.

February 10, 2020:

On the final day before the New Hampshire primary, CNN let viewers know where each candidate was making campaign stops. Not mentioned was Andrew Yang, who was making six campaign stops that day, more than anyone else.

Source tweet

February 11, 2020:

In this final example, nothing could be more fitting. On the morning of the New Hampshire primary, MSNBC lamented that if only the Democrats would nominate a normal person, they could beat Trump. Not mentioned once during this discussion was Andrew Yang, author of "The War on Normal People."

Later that day, Andrew Yang, a normal person, withdrew from the race.

Source tweet

That concludes my historical record of the #YangMediaBlackout. With Andrew Yang having officially exited the race after over two years of running, everyone is finally talking about him and there will be no further new entries to report, at least that is, until he runs again...?

November 22, 2020 Confirmation:

After an appearance on Andrew Yang's podcast, "Yang Speaks," a former producer for MSNBC, Ariana Pekary, was referred to this article, at which point she checked her private journal and discovered that on the same day Joe Biden entered the presidential race, she was told never to pursue Yang for an interview on MSNBC's The Last Word. It remains unknown if others from other shows on MSNBC or other other networks were given similar directives, but this revelation is certainly confirmation that for at least one show on MSNBC, the #YangMediaBlackout was indeed not simply a series of increasingly odd coincidences. It was real.

Source tweet
Source tweet

Special thanks to: The Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity, Haroon Mokhtarzada, Steven Grimm, Floyd Marinescu, Andrew Stern, Zack Sargent, Carolyn, Larry Cohen, Aaron T. Schultz, Ace Bailey, Albert Wenger, Athena Washington, Daragh Ward, Joanna Zarach, Justin Walsh, Michael Tinker, Robert Collins, Sergi Beltrol Navarro, Stephane Boisvert, Tom Cooper, Tricia Garrett, UBIVisuals, Victor Lau, 12550 The Zine, engageSimply - Judy Shapiro, Garry Turner, Marc Klockow, Michael Finney, Michael Kwak, Peter T. Knight, Carrie Mclachlan, Che Wagner, Chris Rauchle, Daniel Brockman, Danielle and Michael Texeira, David Ihnen, Elizabeth Corker, Gerald Huff, Gray Scott, Heather Scarabosio, Jack Canty, Jan Smole, Jess Allen, Joe Ballou, Max Henrion, Michael Honey, Michael Hrenka, Myi Baril, Natalie Foster, Paul Godsmark, Rachel Perkins, Reid Rusonik, Will Ware, Chris Heinz,, Ben Stephens, Brian Schwartz, Casey L. Young, Chris Boraski, Chris Smothers, Elizabeth Balcar, Iggy C, Ivan Vazquez, Janos Abel, Jessica Wales, Jill Weiss, Justin M, Kai Wong, Kathryn Schelonka, Kev Roberts, Kirk Israel, MARK4UBI, Meshack Vee, Nicolas Pouillard, Oliver Bestwalter, Phuong Truong, Reid Knight, Richard Kilshaw, Roy Bahat, Stephen Starkey, Thomas Welsh, Tim, Timothy P. O'Connor, Valentina Petricciuolo, VilliHaukka, Walter Schaerer, Yan Xie, Bill Teng, Erin Oneill, Sanford Redlich, all my other funders for their support, and my amazing partner, Katie Smith.

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Andrew Yang

Scott Santens Twitter

Unconditional/Universal Basic Income (UBI) advocate with a crowdfunded basic income; Founder and President of ITSA Foundation, Author of Let There Be Money; Editor of

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