AAPI Groups Urge Cable News Networks to Improve On-Air Diversity


A coalition of prominent Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) civic and civil rights organizations has united to deliver an open letter to MSNBC, CNN and Fox News — the country’s three largest providers of cable news — demanding that the networks address the persistent underrepresentation of the AAPI community in their programming.

The coalition’s letter, organized by the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and Reappropriate, responds to recent incidents that involve news hosts and guests who made disparaging remarks about the AAPI community on the air.

The June 16 letter highlights research by Media Matters that shows that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up less than 3 percent of invited nightly news or Sunday morning political talk show guests, even though more than 6 percent of the American people are AAPI.

“Networks need to ensure that Asian American and Pacific Islander voices and perspectives are heard and that issues of importance to our communities are discussed,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “If we are invisible in the media, racial slurs and inaccurate portrayals of AAPIs will persist, but when Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are better represented — in particular, in the news — it allows for a more diverse understanding across all communities. All Americans — including AAPIs — deserve more accurate representation in our media.”

The letter asks that MSNBC, CNN and Fox News commit to a meeting between their editorial boards and members of the AAPI community within the next 90 days to discuss concrete steps for improving the representation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in their programming.

“The profound underrepresentation of Asian American and Pacific Islander people on prime-time news exacerbates the injury caused when someone like Ann Coulter uses her time as a guest of ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ to mislabel Asian Americans with the racially charged term ‘Mandarins,’ as she did last month,” said Jenn Fang of Reappropriate.

“Networks may not be wholly responsible for their guests’ commentary, but it is troublesome that they routinely enable the broadcast of offensive comments while they simultaneously deny members of targeted communities the same opportunity to respond and engage with our national political discourse.”

The joint letter is signed by 23 of the nation’s most prominent AAPI organizations, whose work spans a broad range of interest areas.

The full text of the letter is available for download at http://bit.ly/AAPIMediaLetter.

Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for their communities’ concerns. Info: www.ncapaonline.org.



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