Earlier today I wrote about the Washington Post’s summary of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ efforts to walk back an embarrassing FAQ which her office used as part of the rollout for the Green New Deal. As bad as the Post story was in some ways, at least it managed to convey some of the embarrassing twists and turns this story has taken over the past four days. The NY Times published a summary today which omits all the troubling details and manages to work in the standard “Republicans pounce” formula used routinely by the media for any story that embarrasses a Democrat. This headline is like a parody:
The opening graph of the story furthers the narrative by confusing the timeline:
Days after introducing her Green New Deal — a plan to combat climate change that has won the endorsement of several Democratic presidential candidates — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found the proposal enmeshed in confusion when her staff published a summary that included provisions not endorsed by the candidates.
As I pointed out this morning, the FAQ was posted on AOC’s site two days before the official rollout of the Green New Deal resolution. So she didn’t get in trouble “days after” because her office published the FAQ. She got in trouble because her office gave the FAQ to news outlets that published it, allowing people to read it.
In any case, the fact that this wasn’t just published on the web but was intentionally handed out to NPR and other outlets by AOC’s staff as part of the Green New Deal rollout doesn’t even get a mention in the NY Times version of events:
Over the weekend her staff backed away from the document, saying it was incomplete and had been published by accident, after Republicans pounced on the plan, citing a blog post of frequently asked questions. That post included language that called for economic security “for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”
“An early draft of a FAQ that was clearly unfinished and that doesn’t represent the GND resolution got published to the website by mistake,” Saikat Chakrabarti, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, wrote on Twitter, referring to the plan by its acronym.
The Times just skips over the fact this was intentionally given out to the media (not just published by accident to the website by some junior staffer). By ignoring that and leading with the claim this was all an accident, you set up the inevitable “Republicans pounced” dynamic.
That’s not all that gets left out of this story. By ignoring the embarrassing incident Friday night when AOC’s Green New Deal adviser went on Fox News and claimed the FAQ had been doctored and the fact that she retweeted the claim, the Times avoids giving readers the idea that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t the FAQ that was a mistake it was the shoddy, self-serving attempt to claim this was all a big mistake instead of a revealing window into where AOC thinks the Green New Deal is headed.