A distinction without a difference? More like a distinction without a distinction. By the time Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff finishes up with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she ends up on both sides of a boycott against the New York Post for its cover responding to Ilhan Omar. The cover, Ocasio-Cortez has argued, was an attack on “progressive women of color,” and goes “beyond the pale”… pun unintended, surely:
In a Sunday interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” the freshman New York congresswoman explained why she is endorsing a boycott of the paper organized by local Yemeni-American bodega owners, calling the Post’s attack on her friend Rep. Ilhan Omar “beyond the pale.” …
“It can be annoying or agitating, but I didn’t call for this when they were going after me,” Ocasio-Cortez said about the Post’s coverage of her record in Congress.
Rather, she says she was motivated by the paper’s front page cover last week highlighting Omar’s controversial reference to the Sept. 11 terror attack as a case of “somebody did something.”
But is she actually boycotting the newspaper? In the same interview, Ocasio-Cortez says it’s important to be clear about this. In theory, anyway:
“And also I think it is important to, to assert that I didn’t call for a boycott of the New York Post,” she said. “What I’m, I’m amplifying, I’m amplifying organizing that’s happening on the ground, and I, I do think that there’s a substantive difference between the two.”
But wait, Isikoff asks. Didn’t you just send out a tweet endorsing the boycott? And promoting it?
Two years ago, Bodega owners across NYC (& cheered by neighbors)shut their shops citywide to protest Trump’s #MuslimBan.
Today, that same community is banding together to reject sales of the NY Post at bodegas citywide.
This is what real unity (& NYC solidarity) looks like ⬇️ https://t.co/mj8vtA4Pv5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 13, 2019
On second thought, Ocasio-Cortez responds …
Asked on Skullduggery if that tweet wasn’t “implicitly” endorsing the Post boycott, Ocasio-Cortez responded: “I endorse it. I do endorse it.”
Confused? Not half as confused as Ocasio-Cortez, who then tells Isikoff that she’s not focusing on the boycott itself, but instead the political power of immigrant bodega owners, who also called for a strike after Donald Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban.” Did that result in an end to that policy? Er, not exactly, but she tells Isikoff that it “elevates the consciousness of all New Yorkers.”
Now, it’s perfectly fine to dislike the New York Post, criticize its coverage and its cover selections, and even to choose not to buy or read it. Conservatives have done that with media outlets for decades. Boycotts of those media outlets are fair free-market organized responses, although they’re about as effective as Ocasio-Cortez’ favorite bodega strikes. However, there is irony in claiming that arguing to shut down a source of information amounts to “consciousness raising,” even if that irony unsurprisingly escapes Ocasio-Cortez’ consciousness.
Anyway, this boycott isn’t likely to have much effect other than to make the bodega owners and Ocasio-Cortez look impotent. If anything, it’s going to give the Post some material for more derision and scorn. And it will serve to keep the Ilhan Omar story alive, and perhaps even force the other New York media outlets that ignored her comments about 9/11 to give them some coverage. Great job, Congresswoman.