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Why Andrew Yang and His Yang Gang Are Super Pissed at NBC

The tech entrepreneur running for president had the least airtime of all the 2020 contenders on stage in Miami Thursday night

by Kelly Vinett
Jun 28 2019, 9:03pm

If the Yang Gang didn’t get enough of their candidate at Thursday’s Democratic debate, it’s NBC’s fault.

That’s what Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur running for president, was telling his supporters Friday, after he got the least amount of speaking time of all 10 candidates on stage for the second night of the 2020 Dems event in Miami.

In a post-debate tweet, Yang apologized to his supporters, who refer to themselves as members of the “Yang Gang,” that he didn’t get more airtime, explained why, and promised he’d do better in the future.

“I feel bad for those who tuned in to see and support me that I didn’t get more airtime. Will do better (my mic being off unless called on didn’t help) and glad to have another opportunity in July (and afterwards)!” he tweeted.

While Yang blamed hosting network NBC, a spokesperson for NBC News denied Yang’s accusations in an email to the Washington Post: “At no point during the debate was any candidate’s microphone turned off or muted.”

In one of the few moments when Yang managed to snag some airtime, he promoted what his campaign has become best known for: his Universal Basic Income policy. This “Freedom Dividend”, as the Yang campaign calls it, proposes to give each American adult $1,000 a month, costing an estimated $3.2 trillion a year.

When moderators asked how he would implement the policy, Yang said it’s difficult to implement UBI if trillion-dollar tech companies like Amazon aren’t paying any taxes. He later went on to say, “This is a move that we have to make, particularly as technology is now automating away millions of American jobs,” and blamed President Trump for automating 4 million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Yang’s 2 minutes and 56 seconds of airtime (versus 13 minutes and 19 seconds for front-runner Joe Biden) weren’t exactly spent as well as he’d imagined. He justified this in another tweet, calling the debate’s format “not a natural one for me at all. Requires very specific behaviors that feel very forced.”

Yang has a small but loyal base of support, of about 1-2 percent, according to most national polls.

And despite his limited speaking time and uncomfortable (for him) format, Yang gained 50,000 more followers on his Twitter account after the debate. To that, he tweeted, “I must have been on TV.”

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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