The Corner

Politics & Policy

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Trump: A Case Study in Double Standards

Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at her midterm election night party in N.Y., November 6, 2018. (Andrew Kelly/REUTERS)

First, go read Charlie’s cover story.

Okay, now . . .

You may have noticed that the press really doesn’t like the way that the president fabricates facts, etc. Fair enough. For some media critics, how the MSM covers Trump’s lies is a matter of grave importance. Again, fair enough.  After all, I don’t like that stuff either, so I am not going to claim that they don’t have a point.

But if you want a good example of why so many on the Right don’t care about this sort of thing anymore, or at least don’t pay attention to journalists who criticize it, all you need to do is look at how some in the press have handled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

As I’ve been pointing out for a while, when it comes to social-media marketing and the press, she does not represent an answer to Trumpism so much as a progressive version of it.

But here’s the fun part. For the MSM, when Trump does it, he’s a liar and a demagogue at war with the First Amendment. Trump lives in a “reality distortion field.”

When AOC does it, she’s doing important work, illuminating the very real biases of the press and shaping a narrative.

And the only reason she has a target on her back is because she triggers grumpy, bigoted, or insecure conservatives, scared by how she’s threatening “white conservative men’s power.” Watch this whole CNN panel discussion to see what I mean:

The funniest part about the conversation about AOC is the way that the MSM seamlessly and simultaneously — sometimes in the same sentence — mocks conservatives for criticizing an insignificant freshman congresswoman and marvel at how she is the future of the party and a rock star.

My advice: Pick a lane. Either she’s The One You’ve Been Waiting For and the most important new politician in America or she’s a 28-year-old political ingénue and first-term congresswoman undeserving of conservative attention. Either it’s okay to make up facts and attack the integrity of those who bring your lies to light or it’s not. Because this dancing back and forth across the line makes a lot of people look like they only care about the truth when the truth is on their side of a partisan argument.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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