Andrew Yang gets media cold shoulder

Data: Real Clear Politics for polling average through 8/30, Sprout Social for tweets, NewsWhip for article mentions through 8/25, and the Internet Archive's Television News Archive for cable news mentions through 8/28; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Despite polling in the top 6 of the Democratic primary and getting plenty of online attention, businessman Andrew Yang is being treated by the media like a bottom-tier candidate.

Why it matters: The discrepancy between demonstrated voter support and the level of media coverage — both on cable and in the online world — shows that the press is in unfamiliar territory in covering a candidate from outside the political world who keeps a low profile.

Driving the news: Last week, Yang supporters complained of a #YangMediaBlackout after CNN left their candidate off on-screen polling graphics of 2020 hopefuls.

The big picture: In the absence of coverage from major media outlets, candidates must rely on grassroots support and traction in online communities, as Yang has done.

  • He has found a lane doing long-form podcast interviews, and he credits his February Joe Rogan appearance with springing his candidacy to the next tier.
  • In contrast to the soundbite-driven drumbeat of D.C. politics, which caters to the pace of cable news, the lengthy podcasts provide a forum for nuance and give-and-take.
  • For Yang, this online support has been both a blessing and a curse. Some of the voices propelling his candidacy online in the beginning came from fringe communities.

By the numbers: Along with Yang, Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg have also under-indexed in media coverage, relative to their polling positions.

  • Meanwhile Beto O'Rourke and Bill de Blasio have benefitted from outsized coverage.

Flashback: This isn't the first time the media has struggled with how to cover an unconventional candidate. HuffPost famously made the decision to include news about Donald Trump's candidacy as part of its "entertainment" coverage.

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