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MSNBC is Doing Asian Americans No Favors

When it comes to racial diversity among the Sunday political talk shows, MSNBC is the undisputed leader. In two studies conducted by ChangeLab (January-June 2012, and January-June 2013), MSNBC’s anchor weekend talk programs, Up with Chris Hayes/Steve Kornacki and Melissa Harris Perry included more guests of color and hosted more discussion of issues of race than all of the other networks offering similar programming combined. The difference is not just in quantity but in the depth and quality of the discourse. Now, mind you, the standard established by the major networks is set pretty low, but they do at least …

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“How I Met Your Mother” is Part of a Bigger Problem

 

Like so many, I was dismayed to learn through this Twitterstorm of outrage about the latest yellow-face antics to show up in U.S. pop culture. It’s a long running, ugly pattern. The underrepresentation of Asian Americans in film and television is bad enough without white performers exploiting warped, racist ideas about Asian cultures. The show’s creators apologized, but it doesn’t erase the cumulative damage of historic anti-Asian racism

And TV and film are only the tip of the iceberg. Coverage of Asian Americans in U.S. political media is dismal too. ChangeLab started tackling this problem by analyzing mainstream …

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More on the Real Meaning of Diversity on “Up” and MSNBC

My recent post critiquing Media Matters’ laudatory report about How Chris Hayes’ Show Differs From Other Sunday Shows In One Chart got a brief exchange going between me and Mr. Hayes on twitter. My critique was based in part on a six-month study by ChangeLab of the weekend political shows aired between January 1-June 30 of last year in which we analyzed all of the transcripts to isolate every instance in which a person of color was mentioned. That study puts Media Matters’ claim that Up is driver of diversity in a different light.

In regard to Asian Americans, we …

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Why Reports of Diversity Going “UP” Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up to Be

A March 14 Media Matters story entitled How Chris Hayes’ Show Differs From Other Sunday Shows In One Chart offered this info-graphic to support their contention that Hayes’ weekend TV political magazine, Up, “has provided much-needed diversity of race and gender to television political programs.

Echoing this sentiment, Tanehisi Coates chimed in on March 18 with an article in The Atlantic, What Chris Hayes Means to the Debate, calling the Media Matters graphic “a really important illustration of Up With Chris Hayes contribution to ‘The Debate.'”

Now, I’m not trying to minimize the accomplishment indicated by the graph. …

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Harkening Back to a Whiter Time

On MSNBC’s Up this weekend, host Chris Hayes went after the Republican strategy of using nostalgia to rev up their base. He claimed that a reason conservatives long for the past is that, back then, (white) social mobility, the basis of the American dream, was more possible. He went on to feature a robust discussion of the role of race in this messaging strategy, but all tempered by the sense of some panelists that one ought not go too far in crying racism.

I could not disagree with that sentiment more. Republicans are, in fact, manipulating racism, and when leaders …

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Whitening the Media

I like MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes. It’s TV for thinkers, at least most of the time. But this past weekend, in a discussion about the collapse of truth in media, Hayes said something that almost had me throwing my coffee at the T.V.

His comment was a response to a plea from good ol’ Amy Goodman of Democracy Now for poor people, especially poor people of color, being able to speak for themselves in media. She said truth in media is “larger than a truth that is yes or no…” speaking to the fact that, even in the …