Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refuses to be ‘gaslit’ by the New York Times


By now, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gone through more full-on political attacks than President Trump has gone through cabinet members.

Fox News’ abuse of power, and of Ocasio-Cortez, comes as no surprise, given the Murdochian media complex’s total commitment to making sure their audience sees Ocasio-Cortez and her peers — specifically, congressional “Squad”-mates Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — as the socialist enemies of (white) America that President Trump insists they are. But a perhaps more remarkable, or at least more subtle, kind of critique came Wednesday from one of the nerve centers of center-left media, in the form of Catie Edmonson’s New York Times story, “How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Learned to Play by Washington’s Rules.”

This significant development apparently came as news to Ocasio-Cortez, who picked up on another narrative running throughout the article. Starting with that authoritative headline, which begs the question of who was doing the teaching, Edmonson’s piece reads like a disciplinary tool disguised as a straight report. A series of normative statements are passed off as givens.

We learn that AOC — pictured above the text in a thoughtful, reserved pose, hands folded, eyes fixed on a distant horizon — arrived on Capitol Hill as “a Bronx firebrand” with a “revolutionary reputation,” “social media fame” and a “brash, institution-be-damned style.” Cut to nine months into Ocasio-Cortez’s tenure in office, and according to Edmonson, AOC has purportedly Learned Her Lesson, having adopted “a careful political calculus that adheres more closely to the unwritten rules of Washington she once disdained.” In other words: She’s becoming part of the system.

The evidence for this newsworthy shift, which Edmonson was merely chronicling in her report, consists of a couple of quotes from AOC, a smattering of broad comments from others and a hearty dose of extrapolation based on the congresswoman’s recent staffing and scheduling choices.

Here are two excerpts from Edmonson’s piece containing Ocasio-Cortez’s own words about her evolution on the job, which don’t exactly amount to a slam-dunk confirmation of the article’s driving idea:

“I think I have more of a context of what it takes to do this job and survive on a day-to-day basis in a culture that is inherently hostile to people like me,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview.

…  She said she has gone through a “loss of innocence and naïveté,” realizing that it was impossible to separate the legislative work of serving in Congress with the politics of re-election campaigns.

“They are frankly much closer in that dynamic and much closer in overlapping than a lot of people tend to realize,” she said.

Edmonson also pointed to Ocasio-Cortez’s apparent move away from the Justice Democrats, one of the sponsoring organizations that boosted her to victory at the polls in 2018. The congresswoman was not working so many co-branded activities into her upcoming slate; she had also sacked two key employees who were affiliated with the Justice Democrats, hired as her chief of staff Kamala Harris’ former aide — a “sober-minded replacement,” Edmonson notes. What’s more, she was opting to endorse less edgy Democrats like Marie Newman and Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse, for whom AOC has been blocking out time that, just a few months ago, she may have spent, say, helping Justice Democrats:

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has cut back on her appearances on behalf of Justice Democrats and has begun bolstering her fellow incumbent freshman lawmakers, like Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado, a member of Democratic leadership whom she is joining at a fund-raiser this week for the Boulder County Democratic Party.

We also learn that certain of Ocasio-Cortez’s aides “continued to carry the Justice Democrats’ flag without restraint, tweeting out their support when the group challenged incumbents, to the dismay of Democratic aides and lawmakers,” which didn’t always work out so well for those aides.

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