Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Media Bias in the Post-Truth Era

A few weeks ago, in a 60 Minutes interview, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended her propensity to twist facts and outright lie, saying, “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being factually correct than about being morally right.”

If anyone wants a crystalline articulation of the post-truth era that we now inhabit, look no further.

The term “post-truth era” was originally coined by the mainstream media during the initial months of Donald Trump’s presidency to describe Trump’s habit of fibbing or presenting “alternative facts.” Certainly, Trump and his acolytes share Ocasio-Cortez’s philosophy in regard to telling the truth. But the media is significantly less interested in holding Ocasio-Cortez accountable for her dishonesty than it is in scrutinizing Trump or anyone who supports him, suggesting that perhaps the media, too, has played a role in accelerating our downwards spiral into a post-truth political environment. 

Ocasio-Cortez is the much-lauded new face of The Democratic Party who has been treated to lascivious adoration from the mainstream media. She has also been ridiculed and criticized at great length because, well, it doesn’t appear that she has any type of stable relationship with the truth. 

She has said that the world is going to end in 12 years (because, like, climate change and stuff), equated electing Democrats to ending slavery (a quick glance at Democrats’ original stance on slavery might make her think twice about that one), and claimed that unemployment is only low because most people are working two jobs, which is just flat out wrong — the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that under five percent of the labor force works two jobs. That was just in the past week.

Ocasio-Cortez could brush up on her basic arithmetic, as well. On the rare occasion that she is actually pressed by the mainstream media on how she plans to pay for her proposed radical expansions of Medicare, free college for all, racial reparations, and other delightful totalitarian fantasies, she opts for the tried-and-true left-wing populist sentiment — she’ll simply hike up the taxes on those evil one-percenters. 

Unfortunately, by economic projections, even if we confiscated 100 percent of the top earners’ incomes, the increase in tax revenue wouldn’t even fund one percent of Ocasio-Cortez’s policy proposals. Whether or not our junior congresswoman is outright dishonest, astoundingly stupid, or some combination of the two is still very much up for debate.

Ocasio-Cortez as an individual isn’t particularly worthy of note — radicals make their way into mainstream politics from time to time. However, the media’s treatment of Ocasio-Cortez and other leftist radicals in her party betrays an outrageous liberal bias that has certainly intensified in the past few years.

The Washington Post has proclaimed in an unending parade of sycophantic articles that the young socialist congresswoman’s critics are simply old, reactionary misogynists who couldn’t bear the notion of a confident young woman occupying political space. A recent article opened with, “for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, being the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and a Latina means enduring a ceaseless spotlight and a constant stream of criticism from conservatives who tell the world to dismiss her views and opinions.”

Give me a break.

This, of course, is the tired old line trotted out time and time again by Ocasio-Cortez and her supporters in the mainstream media. We are constantly being told that pointing out the absurdity of Ocasio-Cortez’s policy ideas or holding her accountable for the outright lies that she produces on a routine basis is somehow sexist, racist, or both. 

The double standard here is laughable — where were the concerned feminists at the Washington Post and the New York Times when Saturday Night Live and late-night talk show hosts mocked Sarah Palin mercilessly and parodied her as an uneducated airhead? Or when Chelsea Handler mocked Sarah Huckabee Sanders for being overweight? Or when Jimmy Carr called Ann Coulter “one of the most repugnant, hateful, hatchet-faced b*tches alive” and told her to kill herself? Or when Hillary Clinton claimed that any woman who voted against her was bullied into it by a man?

The same journalists furiously claiming that criticism of Ocasio-Cortez’s radical agenda is sexist are curiously silent when conservative women are mocked and derided. According to the media, criticizing politicians is only sexist if the politician is a Democrat. 

Left-wing bias in the major media outlets isn’t anything new. However, the fact that journalists treat politicians like Ocasio-Cortez with kiddy gloves is ridiculous. Political actors across the ideological spectrum should be held equally accountable by those who endeavor to report objectively and ethically on the news cycle — the media needs to do better.  

 

Nate Hochman

Nate Hochman

Nate Hochman, class of 2021, is a Political Science major and a Journalism minor. You can follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/njhochman

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