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Unethical Quote Of The Week: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd. Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd.
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Alexandria , VA
Tuesday, January 08, 2019


“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.”

—Socialist Democrat and Progressive rock star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in response to “60 Minutes” interviewer Anderson Cooper’s question about her many gaffes and mistatements.

Bingo. There it is, the smoking gun. Proof that Ocasio-Cortez is so self-involved and eager to talk that she isn’t paying attention, even to her own party’s narratives and talking points. Proof that she is ethically ignorant. Proof that she cannot be trusted. Proof that she is a charming demagogue whose passionate assertions can’t be believed or trusted. Writes the Washington Post’s  Aaron Blake, whose orientation is “Please, please don’t make mistakes like this, because we need you to be successful!”,

“She’s practically saying, ‘Well, maybe I was wrong, but at least my cause is just.’."

She isn’t practically saying that; she is saying that. She’s also saying that the ends justify the means, and if the ends are sufficiently righteous, what’s a little bit of fudging on the facts? This is classic “truthiness,” the term invented by Stephen Colbert to mock conservatives and the Bush Administration in 2005 (he has, oddly, never used the word to tweak Democrats, and won’t use it against Ocasio-Cortez, I guarantee…because, as he has now proven, Colbert has no integrity, and is only interested in advancing an ideology, not in even-handed satire).

Her statement is also an endorsement of the philosophy that the ends justify the means, that misleading the people for their own good is “morally” justifiable (because they can’t be trusted to act rationally if the have the facts), and that she should be trusted to know when misrepresentation is virtuous and when it isn’t.

It is especially damning for Ocasio-Cortez to say this, as it essentially duplicates the attitude the news media has attributed to President Trump. This puts journalists in a bind, for they cannot aggressively pursue the “Trump lies” narrative while the newly anointed  “face of the Democratic Party” endorses his methodology. Thus the Post couldn’t get through its reprimand of Ocasio-Cortez without making sure to point out,

“None of this is to compare Ocasio-Cortez’s falsehoods to Trump’s; she’s right that there is no comparison. Trump’s are both exponentially more numerous and more impactful, coming from the president of the United States.”

Baloney. There is a very valid comparison, and while Trump’s falsehoods may be more numerous (so far), the vast, vast majority of them are trivial, or the typical puffery of the salesman he is. Both Trump and Ocasio-Cortez share the trait of stating as fact what they believe, choose to believe or want to believe based on their gut feelings or misunderstood data. In the same interview, for example, the New York Rep pronounced the President a racist. This is just repeating a party talking point. There is no substantive evidence that the President is a racist, nor that he “lies” about “immigrants,” another assertion Ocasio-Cortez made on “60 Minutes.”

Following “60 Minutes” and the resulting criticism, Ocasio-Cortez went on a Twitter rant about how unfair the factcheckers were to be so hard on her. She’s a child, and she’s not going to make it. Her credibility will be so shredded within a year that her influence, except with the completely gullible, will be nil.

ProEthics, Ltd.
Alexandria, VA