New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in heated debates on Twitter today over the credibility of a Washington Post fact check article about her. Here’s what you need to know.
Glenn Kessler, fact check columnist for The Washington Post, published an article Thursday about Ocasio-Cortez. In it, the liberal media personality criticized the representative’s statements about the living wage. He wrote in the piece that there is not “a vast majority” of Americans who don’t earn a living wage, despite Ocasio-Cortez’s claims. He also pointed out that both Walmart and Amazon pay workers above the minimum wage, in contradiction to the representative's claims.
When debunking this particular claim, Kessler linked to an online paper from the Mackinac Center, a research organization focused on promoting free market enterprise and limited government. The paper was written by Jason Furman, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under the Obama administration.
“Even if Ocasio-Cortez were right about the minimum wage,” wrote Kessler. “Her contention that those companies are benefiting from a wealth transfer is dubious. Economic theory generally assumes all costs and benefits of labor-related taxes and benefits are borne by labor — i.e., the worker, not the employer. So wages would be largely unaffected if taxes went up or public assistance went up. And the worker would still get paid the same, even if they had to carry the burden of new taxes or received enhanced benefits.”
From Tweet to Heat
Ocasio-Cortez linked to a now hidden tweet from Andrew Perez, political reporter for the research organization MapLight, who focus on how money plays a role in politics, according to their website. Along with the link, she shared her own thoughts on Kessler’s piece.
If the point of fact-checking is to enforce some objective standard, why would @GlennKesslerWP use a Walmart-funded think tank as reference material for wage fairness?— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 24, 2019
That’s like citing the foxes to fact-check the hens.
Here’s 4 Geppettos for your contested Pinocchios ???????????????? https://t.co/uERpcjqvwT
Kessler responded to Ocasio-Cortez in his own tweet. He pointed out that Furman wrote the piece and explained that he linked to the paper for context about “basic economics.”
Check the name of the author: Jason Furman, chairman of Council of Economic Advisers under Obama. He's someone I have known for 20+ years and he is simply citing some basic economics. I included the link only because his discussion of the economics was detailed and thorough.— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) January 24, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez retorted, saying that many people who go into government are only interested in obtaining status and money from lobbyists.
Revolving-door politics doesn’t care what admin a person worked for.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 25, 2019
The truth is, many folks come to govmnt to collect a title, & leave to collect a lobbyist check.
WaPo itself touched on this by covering the Harvard Orientation.
You’re legitimizing that by citing this study. https://t.co/wTsgwRu8vf
That’s when Daniel Drezner, a professor at The Fletcher School and a Washinton Post contributor for Post Everything on Friday, went to Twitter to defend Furman.
You might want to do a little research on Jason Furman and then apologize for the implications in this tweet. https://t.co/GWFUtXmIft— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) January 25, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez apologized for making her tweet appear like she was attacking Furman’s character, but emphasized that his contributions to the paper do not denounce the possibility of “revolving door politics,” motivating the article’s publication.
I am criticizing the rationale of saying we should trust a questioned source paper because of a standing friendship and X admin, bc neither preclude the possibility of revolving door politics - if the tweet read as though I was going after @jasonfurman specifically, I apologize.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 25, 2019
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this piece read that Ocasio-Cortez is a senator. It has been updated to note she is a House representative.