The point of any debate is to make your viewpoints on specific issues known to the audience and to prove that those views are better than your opponents’. But that can be hard to do if you are given little time to actually speak and make yourself known. And that is precisely what presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang experienced during last Wednesday’s most recent Democrat primary debate.
Yang received the least amount of speaking time as anyone else on stage, with just under seven minutes in all. Even low polling candidates like Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar received more time than him. And the top three candidates received nearly double the amount of speaking time.
Needless to say, he wasn’t really thrilled with that knowledge. Edward-Isaac Dovere reported tweeted out Yang’s response to such alienation and said, “Yang, stopping by watch party: “it felt great…but then it felt like when the hell are they going to f**ing call on me? The hypocrisy of MSNBC in a way just makes us stronger. I’m almost – almost grateful.”
Even Hawaiian Representative and opponent of Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, complained about the lack of air and speaking time Yang received.
She tweeted after the debate: “So much for the promise of equal time for all candidates, @Andrew Yang got half the time as the usual media favorites. Typical.” It was noted that Gabbard also didn’t get much speaking time, having just a hair more than Yang.
However, this isn’t really anything new for Yang. During all five of the Democratic primary debates, Yang has consistently received the least amount of speaking time. A video has been made about the speaking time each candidate has gotten, and it clearly shows Yang at the very bottom of the pack. In second to the last place is Amy Klobuchar, and she still has more than 15 minutes more speaking time than Yang. Naturally, the top contenders have much more than this, at more than double.
The choice to alienate Yang has been brought up time and time again by his campaign and those that support him. Some would even call it a fixation.
Scott Santens, a UBI advocate, has detailed the times that Yang has been pretty blatantly left out of conversations, news reports, and graphics on fundraising and polling by news outlets. NBC, in particular, seems to have the least amount of Yang mentions.
And it has called quite a few to question their motives and even incite that MSNBC is somehow afraid of Yang. Yang supporters have also launched a #MSNBCFearsYang initiative to draw attention to the issue. They claim the network’s lack of attention to Yang is interfering with the election and could, in fact, cost him the presidency. Therefore, they are calling for MSNBC to be held accountable and take responsibility for their actions.
However, it is essential to note that when Andrew Yang does get air time, he seems to capitalize on it very well. His last debate performance, as limited as it was, was considered a great success. FiveThirtyEight noted that of all the contestants, Yang gained the most favorability. And he was given a rare A for his performance by a debate coach. The coach, who assigned to score candidates for CNN, said he had never seen someone make so much sense in so little time.
His report said, “I don’t grade on speaking time since it’s not the candidate’s fault. I coach my teams to make fewer arguments than our competitors, but to make sure the positions we take are thorough and well-grounded.”
And he continued, “That said, I dare you to find a bad answer from Andrew Yang in last night’s debate. Hint: You won’t. He scored an A from me every single time he spoke. I’ve never witnessed that before.”
He explained himself, saying, “While it was well into the debate before Yang spoke, his answers about some of the threats to American society once again, brought new ideas to the debate stage. Artificial intelligence, which he’s mentioned in previous debates, is a future threat that must be taken seriously. And setting up something like a WTO (World Trade Organization) for data? His ingenuity was astounding. Bold ideas suit Yang well – and, when well thought out and pragmatic, they get high points in a debate.”
Let’s hope, for his sake, that others notice this as well, instead of getting stuck looking at what the media wants them to.