Two of the four network Sunday morning news shows failed to include Asian American voices yesterday when discussing the horrific mass shootings last week by a single suspect at two spas in the Atlanta area.
Eight people were killed in the shootings, seven of whom were women, six of them Asian American. The attacks also cast a new public light on the fact that there was a 150% increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans in 2020, according to research by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University. The increase has been widely attributed to the usage of such terms as “China virus” and “kung flu” for COVID-19 by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
Meet The Press moderator Chuck Todd spoke to Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who discussed his support for hate crimes laws and reform of gun laws. He noted the incongruity in the fact that the alleged shooter was able to purchase a gun on the same day as the killing spree, but Georgia citizens are not able to register and vote on the same day.
Then toward the very end of the program, Todd also discussed the story with a panel consisting of Eddie Glaude Jr., a professor of African American studies at Princeton University; Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan; Nevada journalist Jon Ralston; and NBC News correspondent Julia Ainsley.
“You know, the Asian American community has been talking about this for a year, basically, since the start of the pandemic,” Todd said. “And it really took the rest of sort of collective political intelligentsia to take notice, sadly, after the tragedy of this week.”
However, no Asian American voices were actually present for the discussion itself — even though Todd had just admitted that not enough elite media members had been listening to them.
Likewise, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace had a panel discussion featuring Fox News radio host Guy Benson, Wall Street Journal White House correspondent Catherine Lucey, and Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane.
During the discussion, Benson decried the notion that Trump’s rhetoric surrounding COVID-19 had led to crimes against Asian Americans and questioned “what the rules are in terms of what we're allowed to say or not say.”
The other two networks’ Sunday shows did feature Asian American voices, and Asian American women in particular, both of them elected officials at the national level.
ABC’s This Week had an interview with Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, who bluntly explained why the killing spree is being viewed as a hate crime, despite the reticence of law enforcement officials to classify it in that manner: “This is a 21-year-old white male who chose, as his first victim, a business that was called Young's Asian Massage. Then he drove for 27 miles to another spot where he hit two more Asian spas.”
CBS’ Face the Nation hosted Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who said that crimes against Asian Americans are under-reported by authorities. “Now, if you're Asian American like me and my family, you know it happens on a regular basis,” she said. “But oftentimes these crimes just get reported in some other way. Or when you say, ‘Hey, I think it was race-motivated,’ it doesn't — the authorities don't pay attention to that and just reclassify them.”