Public Records show that NW Asian Weekly reporter, Mahlon Meyer (马一龙), grossly violated the basic journalist’s ethic code, and framed his article on Chinese American history month bill to fit his preplanned agenda.
We are appalled by the April 22, 2021 NW Asian Weekly article which politicized SB 5264, the Chinese American history bill. In his article, “Chinese American history month bill snags over intent“, quoting words from Democrat legislators, Mahlon Meyer attacked SB 5264 as a Republican bill, and bizarrely suggested that this benign bill was a continuum of the battle over voter overturned I-1000. However, as Democrat House legislative assistant, Alex Hamasaki , put “5264, sponsored by Wagoner and Brown but with bipartisan support with Das, Dhingra, and Hasegawa as cosponsors. The bill declared January of each year as Chinese American history month, and public schools would be encouraged to learn about Chinese American History. “
Puzzled by the attacks from Democrat legislators, we submitted PRA requests. And Public Records reveal that Mahlon had a pre-planned agenda to frame SB 5264 as a Republican bill and tie SB 5264 with the fight over I-1000.
On 4/16, Mahlon first contacted Rep. My-Linh Thai and questioned “was that (SB 5264) supposed to establish a Chinese American history month?”. Mahlon did not even get the bill’s house of origin correct. 5264 is a Senate bill (SB), not a House bill (HB). Did he even read the original bill? If he researched the bill, why didn’t he contact the bill’s co-sponsors Senator Das, Dhingra, and Hasegawa for their comments on the bill? The answer is simple, he was not interested in researching the truth, but to write a piece that fits his preplanned attack on the bill and the Chinese Americans.
Without getting a response from Rep. Thai’s office, Mahlon followed up with another email on 4/18, and his preplanned agenda was on full display in that email. He repeatedly associated the bill with the battle over Affirmative Action (we actually repeatedly rejected his claim in our email exchange with him, please read on). Mahlon attacked Chinese Americans who supported SB 5264 as “wealthy and privileged ones”. He then mischaracterized the denouncement of Thai’s Renton speech. The denouncement was about Thai politicizing anti-Asian hate and making a speech that would divide the Asian American community.
Dear Rep. Thai,
Please, would you allow me to reframe my request for a comment for my story (due Tuesday)?
It seems to me, based on my reporting, that the bill for Chinese American History Month was launched by a group that wants to equate anti-Asian hate crimes with affirmative action.
It seems this is the same group that attacked I-1000.
They also attacked a speech you made on March 22. In your speech, you said the way to counter anti-Asian hate crimes was to make systemic change for all people of color, and refugees and women and all disadvantaged groups. You said — we are all like a big family. When one person hurts, we all hurt.
But they have denounced your speech. It seems they believe that attempts to deconstruct white supremacy and give advantages to all marginalized groups disempowers Chinese (in their case, the wealthy and privileged ones) in arenas such as seeking admission to universities and medical schools. In addition, as you know, they are against affirmative action of any kind. https://waasians4equality.org/2021/03/26/denounce-rep-my-linh-thais-3-22-speech-in-renton/
I know you’re busy, but if you have time, would you be willing to accept a 10-minute interview about this? I’d like to know any thoughts or comments you have, if you have time.
I’d like to know if you think there will ever be a way to bridge differences with this group. Right now, they are throwing in their lot with Republicans, but I think they are even more extreme than the Republicans that support the bill — not sure if I am right. Thank you!
With warm regards,
ReporterNorthwest Asian Weekly
Mahlon Meyer also contacted us on 4/17 with three questions. And we quickly provided our statement below.
1.) Mahlon: Do you think the suffering of Chinese Americans has been downplayed in order to disproportionately give advantages to Blacks, who are depicted as the only ones who have suffered?
Linda: No, and this should not be about playing one race against another. That is neither constructive nor accurate. There are fundamental historical issues that need to be addressed when it comes to discrimination against Asians. Their issues are quite unique to them. The issues need not be combined. I think there is inherent bias against Chinese Americans and Asian Americans in general. The society tends to overlook Chinese Americans’ contributions and hardships.
2.) Mahlon: In other words, do you think the recognition of a Chinese American History Month will help people understand that everyone has had to work hard on a basis of merit to achieve their success coming from tragic historical circumstances?
Linda: Given Chinese American’s important role in the development of Pacific Northwest, I think Chinese Americans’ contributions and hardships should not be forgotten. And Chinese American History Month will help steer the conversation and build awareness. I hope as people learn more about Chinese American’s history in this country, the misconceptions such as “model minority”, “ privileged” can be corrected. Chinese Americans struggled, were expelled from this country, had to fight against discriminations, segregations, yet, many are able to achieve American dreams. Their accomplishments should be cherished, not punished due to a perceived success in some cases. Everyone, no matter their race or where they are from, wants to fit in and be part of American society, and that is kind of what America has always been about – a melting pot. However, in the case of Asians, this willingness to assimilate has led people to ignore the price they have paid as a group when it came to discrimination and abuse, until now anyway. Asians are finding their voice as never before in America.
3.) Mahlon: Why isn’t Chinese American History Month mandated? In other words, why aren’t you trying to force schools to teach Chinese culture or Chinese language? Some people say this is even more important so as to get American students ready for the future in which China will dominate?
Linda: Yes, our long term goal is to add Chinese American History curriculum to K-12 education. As you can see, we faced tremendous hurdle to even attempt to pass a symbolic bill SB 5264. To mandate Chinese American History curriculum is a even tougher uphill battle. I think OSPI and our schools should add Chinese American History to social studies curriculum. And we will work on making that a reality. For this session, the Washington Legislature should pass SB 5264, and encourage public schools to commemorate Chinese American’s contributions and heritage.
Yet, when Mahlon finished writing his article, he put words in our mouthes and made below false statement.
In her email, Yang seemed to put the past oppression of Chinese Americans on a continuum with current policies of affirmative action and equity that, they fear, could displace their family members.
We quickly protested. In our email to Mahlon, we stated ” The bill is about recognizing and commemorating Chinese Americans history and contributions. I do not think affirmative action has anything to do with this goal.” Despite our repeatedly requests to NOT falsely politicizing SB 5264, Mahlon continued to push for his agenda. In the end, we decided to retract our entire statement. We sent below email to Mahlon.
You contacted us wanting to write a story about SB 5264, we gave you the statement. You later tried to insinuate AA into the story, and I said no. SB 5264 was not about AA, and my statement did not make that AA association either.
Apparently you had an agenda, and you were not honest about your agenda. If you can’t stick to the SB 5264 story, and intend to twist the context and my words to fit into you preplanned narrative, then please do not quote me in your article. I will request your newspaper to retract the article if I am misquoted or misrepresented. Honest reporting is a journalist’s basic ethic.
When the article first came out, Mahlon mischaracterized our communication as “WA Asians for Equality did not respond to multiple emails.” If he has an ounce of the journalist’s ethic, he would not classify the email exchanges we had over the course of several days as “did not respond”. After we contacted the newspaper, they later modified their statement regarding our communications.
Mahlon has clearly demonstrated that he is lack of journalist’s ethic, and is unfit to be a reporter for any news outlet.