WaPo, NYT Fact-Checkers Roast Ocasio-Cortez’s $21-Trillion Falsehood | NTK Network WaPo, NYT Fact-Checkers Roast Ocasio-Cortez’s $21-Trillion Falsehood

WaPo, NYT Fact-Checkers Roast Ocasio-Cortez’s $21-Trillion Falsehood

Two separate fact checks take the representative-elect to task for misunderstanding the Pentagon’s budget, or misleading voters about it.

By NTK Staff | 12.04.2018 @10:00am
WaPo, NYT Fact-Checkers Roast Ocasio-Cortez’s $21-Trillion Falsehood

A Sunday afternoon tweet got Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in hot water when she mistakenly claimed that $21 trillion in Pentagon “accounting errors” could pay for a substantial portion of Medicare for All, which totals about $32 trillion over ten years.

In truth, the $21 billion that Ocasio-Cortez referenced came from “improperly documented accounting adjustments that are made when different financial ledgers do not match.” It’s all rather complicated, but you can read the report here. And herein lies her logic problem:

In other words, $21 trillion is the total value of adjustments made to the Pentagon’s financial records over those years that could not be traced.

That is not the same thing as $21 trillion in spending.

The New York Times called Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet “misleading.” The Washington Post went even further, saying it’s “unconvincing” that she perhaps misread the original analysis. Rather, the Post assigned intent to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet and implied she knew what she was doing when she published it:

Ocasio-Cortez is not the first Twitter user to mangle information from a news report. But it’s unconvincing to try to pass this off as a rhetorical point being misread. She cited the $21 trillion figure and said “66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon.”

That’s a direct comparison. It’s badly flawed. The same article she referenced on Twitter would have set her straight. The tweet is still up, probably causing confusion. So we will award Four Pinocchios to Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez’s career will be one to watch. Currently, she’s the “darling of the progressive left,” as the Times put it. But playing fast and loose with the facts will only undermine her credibility on Capitol Hill and among the press. She has the added burden of being the youngest member elected to the Congress. What she does with that potential will determine where she goes from here.

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