Viral AOC Thread Calls Out Fact-Checkers For Double Standards

As usual, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is questioning and critiquing systems many of us have come to take for granted. Today, she’s calling out the Washington Post and other publications that do fact-checking on politician statements for apparent double standards.

This happened after Salon published a piece criticizing the Washington Post for giving a misleading tweet by Ocasio-Cortez the same kind of liar rating typically reserved for Trump’s biggest whoppers. In her tweet, the freshman congresswoman seemed to suggest that the $21 trillion of Pentagon’s budget that can’t be “raced, documented, or explained” could be used to fund most of the increasingly popular Medicare for All plan.

The reality is a bit more complex than that, and Ocasio-Cortez posted a clarification after her initial tweet went viral. Apparently, this was too late to stop the Washington Post from publishing an article titled “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $21 trillion mistake.”

If we’re fact-checking, this one tweet that contained some misleading verbiage cost exactly $0. But clickbait makes money, so go off I guess.

For this, WaPo gave Ocasio-Cortez for “Pinnochios.” This is their most severe rating, despite the fact that she clarified her point and, even if she was being intentionally misleading, it was nothing compared to Trump claiming that only six people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. Or all of the other things he says which are so blatantly false it boggles the mind.

A month later, after CNN’s Chris Cillizza quoted her out of context, Ocasio-Cortez started a conversation about the double standards around the demanded accuracy of her and other politicians’ statements. It appears that the AOC is being held to an impossibly high standard and being fact-checked on the regular while others, including those known for lying, are getting a much gentler treatment.

Ocasio-Cortez stresses that she is not trying to attack anyone, but wants to understand the process that fact-checking publications use. PolitiFact itself even responded answering at least one of her questions. Individual reporters, including Sal Rizzo from the Washington Post, shared the publication’s rubric for their Pinocchio rating system. As it turns out, it’s a little bit subjective, to put it mildly.

If we’re trying not to be misleading, maybe comparing Ocasio-Cortez to Trump in any way is not the best idea. For example, the AOC has repeatedly stated that fact-checking is essential. She even thanks fact-checkers for the work they do. But she also stresses that the checkers need to be held up to high standards, too.

More importantly, she’s started a conversation that could help fact-checking systems become better than they currently are, as well as conversations about racist and sexist double standards and the problem of “both-side-ism.” Twitter is all over it.