As we previously reported, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) did an Instagram Live chat on Monday where she proceeded to tell a pretty astonishing story about what she says happened to her during the Capitol riots.
The second-term Congresswoman went on for some 90 minutes stating, among other things, that she didn’t have a good feeling about the Capitol police officer who came to her office that day. She noted she was fearful the officer might be there to hurt her because he allegedly looked at her “with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility.”
Many who watched or read her story came away with the impression that Ocasio-Cortez was in the Capitol building, which was breached by rioters. But as my colleague Nick Arama pointed out yesterday, she wasn’t:
If she was in her office, she was in the Cannon Building which is nearby, but a different building. But of course, many didn’t get the logistics and just assumed that she was in the Capitol building.
It is RedState’s reporting as well as that of other conservative websites on this inconvenient fact that sent AOC into a tailspin yesterday, especially after hashtags like “#AlexandriaOcasioSmollett” began to trend. The so-called “Squad” leader was so incensed that people had the nerve to point out she wasn’t in the Capitol building that she sent an email calling on her troll army to “force Twitter and Facebook to take action and enforce their own rules.”
Proclaiming what sites like RedState (which she did not name) were reporting were “lies” that could potentially inspire someone to commit violence, AOC urged her followers to “help us scan social media tonight and report those spreading this disinformation campaign.”
All of AOC’s blustering about so-called “lies” and “the truth” and “misinformation” this week in the aftermath of her telling her story has brought renewed attention to an statement she made to CNN’s Anderson Cooper two years ago when she was asked about her critics’ claims that she was prone to making “factual mistakes.”
Here’s a transcript of their exchange:
Anderson Cooper: One of the criticisms of you is that— that your math is fuzzy. The Washington Post recently awarded you four Pinocchios—
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Oh my goodness—
Anderson Cooper: —for misstating some statistics about Pentagon spending?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: If people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue that they’re missing the forest for the trees. I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.
Anderson Cooper: But being factually correct is important—
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: It’s absolutely important. And whenever I make a mistake. I say, “Okay, this was clumsy.” and then I restate what my point was. But it’s— it’s not the same thing as— as the president lying about immigrants. It’s not the same thing, at all.
“There's a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” @AOC says in response to criticism that she’s made factual errors. https://t.co/sKf3sHl9F6 pic.twitter.com/xKc2eB7GEk
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 7, 2019
So it’s better to be “morally right” than “factually correct” when arguing political positions and government policies? What an unintentionally revealing statement, but then again this was the kind of mindset AOC made clear she operated from well-before she was sworn in to represent her Congressional district. In her world, it’s ok to be a little bit “clumsy” on the facts as long as you are supposedly right from a moral perspective and are pushing the “correct” narrative.
The interesting thing in all of this is how AOC is (falsely) accusing sites like RedState of doing something she appears to be doing herself: manipulating the story. As Nick Arama wrote in a follow-up piece, RedState has merely clarified some facts about what happened that had been previously left out of the discussion:
No one is “discrediting” what actually happened. Her problem is that she’s disturbed that the actual facts were clarified.
To quote Ben Shapiro, facts don’t care about your feelings. Nor should your understandably distressed emotional state be an excuse for members of the press to forgo seeking clarification on stories lawmakers tell.
“I imagine she was legitimately frightened,” progressive writer Zaid Jilani noted Monday in a thread in which he wondered where the fact-checkers were on AOC’s story. “[But] it doesn’t make every statement she makes true. Reporters should attend to facts not sentiment.”