FACT CHECK: No One's Obsessed With AOC

There’s a trope in teen comedy films that’s hilariously playing out in our national politics and, not surprisingly, the person at the center is the young freshman Congresswoman from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).

It can be summed up using a line from a Mariah Carey song: “Why you so obsessed with me?” and it’s a great deflection from accountability and one AOC’s defenders (and even the lady herself) have used to great effect.

In film, it’s the last refuge of the perennially nasty mean boy or girl who will not answer for their bad behavior, choosing instead to point a finger at the people asking for an explanation and accusing them of obsession or unrequited love.

In fact, the movie Mean Girls trots it out when the meanest of the mean girls Regina George explains that a friend she routinely ditches is obsessed with her for wanting to know why she was being blown off. That moves the bad behavior onto the girl, away from Regina the friend-ditcher.

In the 90s film The Craft, a handsome, popular boy Chris Hooker has lied about how far the new, naive girl has gone on a first date (not far, but he says they went as far as you can go) and accuses the girl of being obsessively in love with him when she questions him about his lie. Her obsession becomes the problem, not the boy who lied.

And while it’s hilarious that we see the same happening with AOC, it’s also not a little troubling because there’s a reason the trope occurs frequently in films where children interact with each other. Because it’s the behavior of juveniles who can’t take responsibility for their actions and it certainly isn’t befitting a Congressperson.

AOC has certainly used the “why you so obsessed with me?” tactic in the past, accusing men who question her more fantastical policy ideas of catcalling her. Now her friendlies in the press are pulling the same levers as she battles with Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler for the crime of — the horror — doing his job and fact checking her.

The Nation’s Eric Alterman pulled a total Chris Hooker with this gem:

The Daily Wire covered pretty exhaustively the back and forth that led to this latest silliness. It starts with with this:

As noted in the fact-check, the Twitter feud with Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler actually began before Kessler published his piece. Kessler’s fact-check (which The Daily Wire covered here) took a closer look at Ocasio-Cortez’s statement in a Martin Luther King Day interview with The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Ocasio-Cortez: I think it’s wrong that a vast majority of the country doesn’t make a living wage, I think it’s wrong that you can work 100 hours and not feed your kids. I think it’s wrong that corporations like Walmart and Amazon can get paid by the government, essentially experience a wealth transfer from the public, for paying people less than a minimum wage.

Kessler started off his fact-check by letting the reader know that he’d had a “tense conversation” with a spokesman for the congresswoman, which was followed by the “media savvy” Ocasio-Cortez attempting to “preempt this fact-check” with a tweet:

Me: “I don’t think billionaires should concentrate wealth while employing people who are sleeping in cars working a zillion hours to survive.”

Next day: “That will be TEN PINOCCHIOS to Ocasio, ‘zillion’ is not a number and I found someone who sleeps in a tent, not a car.”

A feud ensued that lasted several days, finally ending when AOC was forced to apologize for erroneously calling a report compiled by the former chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman a report produced by a “Walmart-funded think tank”. (Notably, she still claimed victory.)

All of this of course led to Brian Stelter and a CNN panel declaring that AOC is only being questioned on these things because the patriarchy is obsessed with her.

“She’s got a target on her back because she ticks every box that makes conservative men uncomfortable,” Bassett said. She continued, “She’s a woman, she’s Latina, she’s young, she’s working class, she’s a millennial, she’s a Democratic Socialist…So I think in some ways she’s sort of the ideal anti-Trump and she is threatening white conservative men’s power and they’re terrified of her.” Bassett added that Fox News was using “all the tricks in the patriarchy” to “take her down.”

If AOC is going to Regina George her way through policy disagreements and fact checks, as hilarious and simultaneously disturbing as that is, perhaps it is time to stop giving her any attention at all. I personally have decided this will be the last piece I write on her policy prescriptions or anything else for that matter until she can join the world of adults and begin to take responsibility for the ideas she’s promoting. If she continues to act like a high school adolescent, perhaps it’s time we all treat her like one and ground her until she can learn how to respect herself and the people around her.