PolitiFact, AP, WashPost Leap to Defend AOC’s Riot Claims; CNN’s Alone in Flagging Her a Bit

Snopes went first among liberal “fact checkers” in defending Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against conservative critics of her Instagram Live testimony about the trauma of the Capitol riot, but other aggressive defenders followed, at AP and PolitiFact and The Washington Post. Only CNN decided to flag AOC for saying some unproven things. 

PolitiFact skipped their “Truth-O-Meter” for a feature titled Ask PolitiFact: Where was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during the Capitol riot? PolitiFact writer Bill McCarthy was defense-lawyering for AOC: 

“AOC wasn’t even in the Capitol building during her ‘near death’ experience,” read one headline on RedState, one of several conservative websites that questioned Ocasio-Cortez’s account.

“AOC lied!” another headline said. “She Wasn’t Even in the Capitol Building During the Riot…Her Life Was Never in Danger: Report.”

Similar claims attacking Ocasio-Cortez cropped up in widespread posts on Facebook, where they were flagged as part of the company’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

The criticism also reached cable news. “There were no rioters in (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s) hallway,” said Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “Trump voters weren’t trying to kill her.”

….It’s true that Ocasio-Cortez was not in the main Capitol building where the House and Senate chambers are located as rioters broke in. She was in the Cannon building. 

But she never claimed in her video to have been in the main Capitol building, and the Cannon building was one of two buildings in the broader Capitol complex that was forced to evacuate.

McCarthy had nothing on AOC claiming Ted Cruz tried to get her killed. For another example of how tremendously biased McCarthy is, see the latest from James Agresti. 

Associated Press checker Ali Swenson was also “all in” for defending AOC: 

CLAIM: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, falsely claimed she faced rioters in the main Capitol building during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Ocasio-Cortez never claimed she was in the main Capitol building, nor did she claim she was face-to-face with a mob of violent rioters. 

Swenson even went soft on Jussie Smollett: Critics “appeared to liken the congresswoman to former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist, anti-gay attack against himself in 2019.” Can’t a fact checker acknowledge he faked it? 

Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Adriana Usero came last on Saturday, assigning “Four Pinocchios” to Marjorie Taylor-Greene for saying on Friday “I was in the chamber, unlike AOC — Representative Ocasio-Cortez — that faked her outrage with another hoax, just another hoax that gets shared everywhere.” They waited for the hottest anti-AOC take: “There was no hoax. Ocasio-Cortez’s words have been twisted beyond recognition.”

Kessler and Usero concluded: “Ocasio-Cortez has many critics who leap at any possible misstep, but the problem was compounded when a tweet by a GOP member of Congress was perceived as confirming the right-wing critique. Instead, that lawmaker was faulting the media for misreporting Ocasio-Cortez’s story.”

Ocasio-Cortez also has many defenders who leap to defend her and ignore any missteps. Take a bow, Posties. 

CNN’s Daniel Dale deserves credit in this case for being the only one of these to evaluate AOC, not just defend her. Is that so hard? For example: 

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Wednesday, “The bombs Trump supporters planted surrounded our offices too.”

Facts First: The assertion that Trump supporters planted the bombs has not been proved.

And the Ted Cruz slur on Twitter: 

Ocasio-Cortez responded, “I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out. Happy to work w/ almost any other GOP that aren’t trying to get me killed. In the meantime if you want to help, you can resign.”

Facts First: There is no evidence for the accusation that Cruz was “trying” to get Ocasio-Cortez killed. While Ocasio-Cortez can mount a reasonable argument that the Texas Republican’s actions had the effect of fueling the violent insurrection, that’s different than saying he actually tried to achieve the killing of any member of Congress. Cruz did not advocate violence against Ocasio-Cortez, much less call for her murder.

For his check on candidate AOC’s dramatic staging of the immigration issue at a fence in Texas, see here.

Also see how no one asked for AOC stating “without evidence” that she was a sexual assault victim.

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