UPDATE: Fox News Agrees to Consider AAPI Pitches and Guests

Henry Leung, right, is interviewed by FOX News correspondent Jesse Watters, whose recent piece on Chinatown is being widely criticized by Asian American groups and journalists. Leung says Watters never introduced himself as a FOX News correspondent.

Henry Leung, right, is interviewed by FOX News correspondent Jesse Watters, whose recent piece on Chinatown is being widely criticized by Asian American groups and journalists. Leung says Watters never introduced himself as a FOX News correspondent.

UPDATE: Fox News Open to Story Pitches and Guests from AAPI Community, Welcomes Counter Views (Feb. 22, 12:20 p.m. ET)

Fox News is open and agreeable to consider story pitches and guests that accurately reflect and impact the Asian-American community. The majority of guests on are pre-booked. If community members feel a guest or segment is out of line, Fox News welcomes the opportunity to provide the counter-view. When a guest or segment is accurately reflective of the community’s views, network executives would also like to be made aware. 

Story ideas and guests pitches should be timely and relevant to current events. Day-side programming seeks produced and packaged news stories, whereas prime-time programming seeks guests who offer a perspective from the Asian-American community. 

Pitches should be directed to: 

Megan Clark
The Vice President of Bookings at Fox News
Megan.Clarke@foxnews.com

John Stack
VP of Newsgathering at Fox News
John.Stack@foxnews.com

David Tabacoff
Senior Executive Producer of The O’Reilly Factor
David.Tabacoff@foxnews.com

***


UPDATE: Fox News Agrees to Consider AAPI Pitches and Guests (Feb. 9, 2017, 7 p.m. ET)
When criticism poured in after “Watters World” aired its Chinatown segment on Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor” last October, Jesse Watters was taken aback.

“I was surprised, at the time, with the blowback. I didn’t see it coming, and that’s on me,” said Watters, a correspondent at Fox.

That’s according to a Dec. 30 article in Business Insider, in which Watters apologized for offending anyone with his Oct. 3 segment. The segment itself was billed as a report on Chinese Americans’ views on the U.S. presidential election but which AAJA and a slew of AAPI groups blasted for being rife with racist stereotypes.

AAJA MediaWatch demanded an apology from Fox News to the AAPI community immediately after the segment aired. It also requested a meeting with the show’s producers to understand how the segment was conceived and greenlit to air, and further sought an explanation for how such coverage would be prevented in the future.

After outreach from AAJA and the community, Fox News did in fact meet a number of those requests. On Oct. 25, a Fox News executive and an “O’Reilly Factor” executive producer met privately with AAJA and several national and local community leaders—including a member of  the New York State Assembly, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, OCA, OCA-NY and Reappropriate—at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York.

There, the executives were presented with an open community letter signed by 134 national, state and local AAPI organizations and allies, which requested that Fox News take several actions to address the community’s concerns, including issuing a public apology and instituting employee sensitivity training. Organizers based those demands from input that came out of a town hall meeting held on Oct. 9 in New York’s Chinatown. Fox was invited to the town hall but did not attend.

In a follow-up email with former AAJA President Paul Cheung in January, David Tabacoff, senior executive producer of “The O’Reilly Factor,” offered Megan Clarke, vice president of bookings, “to consider pitches and guests from your membership and community.” Additionally, Tabacoff made himself available as a conduit for story pitches and guests for Fox primetime shows such as “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Although Watters himself never met with AAJA or AAPI leaders, Tabacoff noted that his comments in the Business Insider article summed up his position on the controversy.

“I understand I did offend a lot of people, and I’m very sorry for that,” Watters said in the article. “People took issue with some of the statements I made, and some of the reaction to the Chinatown segment, and I understand that. And it’s a learning experience—I definitely learned a lot from it. But it’s a new day, and we are moving forward with it.”

Tabacoff echoed that sentiment in his email to Cheung.

“We hope to move beyond this particular issue and maintain a positive relationship with the AAJA and your community,” he wrote.

***


UPDATE: Fox News Executives met with AAJA  (Oct. 25, 2016, 6 p.m. ET)
A Fox News executive and an “O’Reilly Factor” executive producer met with AAJA and several community leaders to discuss our concerns over the Oct. 3 segment of “Watters’ World.”

This private meeting took place on Oct. 25 at New York City’s Museum of Chinese in America. Representatives from the community include the Asian American Journalists Association, a member of  the New York State Assembly, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, OCA, OCA-NY and Reappropriate.

An open community letter signed by 134 national, state and local AAPI organizations and allies was presented to Fox News executives.

***


UPDATE: Fox News agrees to meet with AAJA (Oct. 11, 2016, 6 p.m. ET)
Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor” executive producer has agreed to meet with AAJA and several community leaders to discuss concerns over the Oct. 3 segment of “Watters’ World.” This private meeting will take place at New York City’s Museum of Chinese in America. The date is to be determined. The public can share their thoughts about what outcomes they would like to see from this meeting by posting to the public Facebook group “This is 2016.”

***


UPDATE: AAJA RESPONDS TO BILL O’REILLY’S COMMENTS ON FOX NEWS SEGMENT (Oct. 10, 2016, 6 p.m. ET):

We, at the Asian American Journalists Association, do not accept being busy with the election coverage as an adequate excuse to allow a racist segment to air. Not having time to edit what was “over the line” is a reflection of a lack of sensitivity toward diverse coverage.

“There were a few things in there I felt were over the line. The old lady, I would have taken that out. I should have seen it before, but I’m so busy with the election that I didn’t.” said Bill O’Reilly on Fox News Sunday.

This is 2016 and our community deserves far better treatment and coverage than we’ve been given by this Jesse Watters segment.

AAJA is a non-partisan organization whose main mission is to ensure fair and accurate coverage of Asian Americans in news media.

As we have said before, AAJA demands an on-air apology from Fox News to our community and a meeting with the show’s producers to prevent this insensitive type of coverage in the future.

***


UPDATE: INVITATION FROM AAJA TO FOX NEWS (Oct. 8, 2016, 2 p.m. ET)

Fox News has ignored several requests extended by AAJA to attend Sunday’s community town hall in New York City’s Chinatown, the location of the “Watters’ World” report on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor.”

Fox News  also has not responded to multiple requests to provide an apology to the community for the offensive characterizations of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the story. The “O’Reilly Factor” executive producer has agreed to a follow-up call on Monday with AAJA.

The town hall is designed to generate a constructive dialogue between news media and the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. It will take place Sunday, October 9th from  2pm to 4pm ET at the Museum of Chinese in America in Chinatown. Registration details

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UPDATED RESPONSE TO FOX NEWS’ INVITATION TO AAJA (Oct. 6, 2016, 2 p.m. ET)

AAJA reached out to executive producer of “The O’Reilly Factor” at Fox News Channel, Wednesday. They subsequently invited AAJA President Paul Cheung to appear on Friday’s show to discuss the journalism organization’s concerns.

We appreciate the invitation to educate Bill O’Reilly and his audience on the offensive nature of the “Watters’ World” segment. However, we believe meaningful engagement can occur only if there is significant dialogue not just with us, but with the broader community.

Therefore, we respectfully decline the invitation and instead propose a solution we believe can facilitate such a dialogue. AAJA would like to invite Fox News staff members to participate in a conversation with the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities at a town hall to be held in New York’s Chinatown. We encourage Jesse Watters, his producers and other Fox News staff members to attend.

The town hall will take place Sunday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Museum of Chinese in America in Chinatown; additional details will follow.

***


RESPONSE TO JESSE WATTERS’ TWEETS (Oct. 5, 2016, 10:30 p.m. ET)

“O’Reilly Factor” correspondent Jesse Watters issued two tweets in which he described his intentions in an Oct. 3 “Watters’ World” segment based in Chinatown.

It’s one thing to be “tongue-in-cheek.” It is something entirely different to hide behind the guise of political humor while using racial stereotypes.

The AAJA MediaWatch team reviewed two other “Watters’ World” segments — one on millennials and the other on role of  race in Philadelphia.  Although both segments might indeed be “tongue-in-cheek,” neither was as blatantly racist as the Chinatown segment.

Watters interviewed people for whom English is obviously not their primary language, raising ethical concerns of whether they were aware of how they would be portrayed.

We are interested in ensuring that Fox News and “The O’Reilly Factor” do not repeat this type of objectionable segment.

What type of diversity and sensitivity training is being undertaken in the newsroom to broaden the understanding of the diverse audience of 2016?

***


AAJA STATEMENT (Oct. 5, 2016, 2:30 p.m. ET)

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is outraged and shocked by the Oct. 3rd segment of “Watters’ World” on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.” The segment was billed as a report on Chinese Americans’ views on the U.S. presidential election but it was rife with racist stereotypes, drew on thoughtless tropes and openly ridiculed Asian Americans.

Jesse Watters, O’Reilly Factor Correspondent and Host of Watters World, committed a litany of offenses, from asking Asian American women, “Do I bow to say hello?” to asking an Asian American man if he knew karate. He mixed in stereotypes of various Asian groups, conflating Koreans with Chinese and Japanese communities. The segment used clips of martial arts movies and interviewed Asian Americans whose primary language isn’t English in order to mock them.

It’s 2016. We should be far beyond tired, racist stereotypes and targeting an ethnic group for humiliation and objectification on the basis of their race. Sadly, Fox News proves it has a long way to go in reporting on communities of color in a respectful and fair manner.

Host Bill O’Reilly called the segment “gentle fun.” There was nothing gentle or fun about it. It was rude, offensive, mocking, derogatory and damaging.

Fox missed a real opportunity to investigate the Asian American vote, a topic not often covered in mainstream news.

With a population of 15 million, Asian Americans remain the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S. Between 2000-2010, our community grew by 45 percent, compared to 10 percent for the overall U.S. population.

While the largest Asian American communities continue to be in states like New York, California, and Hawaii, the fastest growing populations of Asian Americans include potential swing states like Nevada, Arizona, and North Carolina.

There has been tremendous growth of Asian American representation throughout government. There are now over 600 elected officials at all levels, according to the National Asian Pacific American Political Almanac.

We deserve far better treatment and coverage than we’ve been given by this Fox News report.

AAJA MediaWatch demands an apology from Fox News to our community and a meeting with the show’s producers to understand how this segment was conceived and greenlit to air. More importantly,  we want an explanation for how this type of coverage will be prevented in the future.

Sincerely
AAJA MediaWatch committee &
Paul Cheung, AAJA President

***


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