As Ocasio-Cortez Flubs Facts, NY Mag Suddenly Finds Fact Checks Are Dangerous


New York magazine’s Eric Levitz spent nearly 3,000 words making excuses for the many factual errors committed so far by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the gaffe-prone young socialist representing part of Brooklyn, in “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Critique of Fact-Checking Is Valid.”

Levitz excused the verbal missteps in the name of a higher progressive morality while cheerfully dismissing the vaunted media “fact checking” that was until last week so vital in keeping the Donald Trump administration in line. Now, after some modest media pushback on some of Ocasio-Cortez’s wackier claims, especially in the Washington Post, fact checking is suddenly unfair to the left.

Levitz led with her “innocent mistake” regarding an article on Pentagon accounting errors she read in the hard-left Nation. He spun mightily on her behalf.

Confronted with her month-old mistake, Ocasio-Cortez replied, “If people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue that they’re missing the forest for the trees. I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.” In the 24 hours after her interview aired, the congresswoman argued that it was unclear what standards fact-checkers use when determining which truths and falsehoods to spotlight — and thus, absent good discretion, fact-checkers could actually bias public discourse by drawing disproportionate attention to progressives’ misstatements.

Throughout these remarks, the congresswoman repeatedly stipulated that factual accuracy was “absolutely important.” On Tuesday, she thanked Politifact for the “work that you do.”

After weighing the points on each side, Levitz concluded that fact-checking was dangerous because it could “reflect the ideological biases of the ‘objective’ press.” He is of course absolutely right as far as that goes. The problem is, Levitz somehow looks at the New YorkTimes, the Washington Post, the networks, CNN and MSNBC and sees a media biased against the left, not the right.

And yet, Ocasio-Cortez’s critiques of “fact check” journalism are also valid. The nonpartisan political media does often obscure the moral stakes of policy debates beneath semantical nitpicking. And which truths and falsehoods the mainstream press chooses to spotlight — and which it leaves unscrutinized — does reflect the ideological biases of the “objective” press.READ MORE

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