Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at fact-checkers just days after taking office, accusing them of “false equivalency” and “bias” toward her in their columns examining her statements.
Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has been called out by fact-checkers at a steady clip since her upset primary win last year over then-Rep. Joe Crowley. She’s apparently had enough. On Monday, she took aim at PolitiFact and The Washington Post fact-check unit for supposedly singling her out.
“Facts are facts, America. We should care about getting things right. Yet standards of who gets fact-checked, how often + why are unclear,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Monday. “This is where false equivalency + bias creeps in, allowing climate deniers to be put on par w/ scientists, for example.”
Her argument was not so much that the columns were wrong but that they should be scrutinizing the Trump White House more. Ocasio-Cortez complained that PolitiFact fact-checked her the “same” amount of times as White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
“For example, it looks like @PolitiFact has fact-checked Sarah Huckabee Sanders and myself the *same* amount of times: 6,” she said. “She’s been serving for 2 years. I’ve served 4 days. Why is she fact-checked so little? Is she adhering to some standard we don’t know about?”
She added: “Another question for @politifact: some officials’ statements (ex. Andrew Cuomo) get rated ‘true’ frequently. I say true things all the time – I’d hope most do. When does Politifact choose to rate true statements? Is there a guide? I’d be happy to repost if there is.”
A reporter for the Washington Post, which regularly publishes a fact-check column assigning “Pinocchios” based on the level of falsehood in statements made, hit back, noting there is a way to “avoid” being fact-checked — and stressing they scrutinize the Trump administration plenty.
“No one likes to be fact-checked. There’s a simple way to avoid it. And there’s a big difference between the colossal amount of time we spend fact-checking Trump (7,645 false/misleading claims and counting) and TWO fact-checks of @AOC,” Post reporter Sal Rizzo tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez then seemed to back down.
“Fact-checking is critically important. It’s not always fun. But that’s okay! It pushes me to be better. It is important that if fact-checkers are referees, everyone know the rules –and those rules be as clear + fair as possible for all to play,” she said. “Thank you for the work you do.”
Ocasio-Cortez, in an interview Sunday on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” was asked about the criticism over factual errors and argued it’s more important to be “morally right.”
“I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
But she said it’s still important to be factually correct and she owns up when she says something “clumsy.”
“But it’s not the same thing as the president lying about immigrants. It’s not the same thing at all,” she said.