Ocasio-Cortez Excuses Her Factual Errors: Critics Are More Concerned About Facts Than Being 'Morally Right'

January 7, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said on "60 Minutes" Sunday that the focus on her factual errors by political opponents was "missing the forest for the trees" and having her facts right wasn't as important as being "morally right."

"One of the criticisms of you is that your math is fuzzy," interviewer Anderson Cooper said.

Cooper mentioned the Washington Post's Four-Pinocchio rating of Ocasio-Cortez's claim that $21 trillion in Pentagon "accounting errors" could fund two-thirds of progressives' desire for "Medicare for all."

"Oh my goodness," she said. "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."

"But being factually correct is important," Cooper said.

"It's absolutely important," she said. "And, whenever I make a mistake, I say, 'OK, this was clumsy,' and then I restate what my point was. But it's not the same thing as the president lying about immigrants. It's not the same thing at all."

In the case of the tweet about Pentagon accounting errors, it's still up on her account. The Washington Post's Aaron Blake noted in a scathing post about Ocasio-Cortez's answer that the "Four Pinocchios" rating is not for semantic errors, but rather blatant falsehoods.

She's been fact-checked six times by PolitiFact. Five of her ratings were "False" or "Pants on Fire," the latter most severe rating coming when she said the unemployment rate was low because "everyone has two jobs." She also once defended a single-payer health care system by saying it would reduce costs through less funeral expenses.

Cooper mentioned conservative media's "unusual" attention on Ocasio-Cortez, although she's been a national progressive star since June, when she unseated Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) in the primary for their heavily Democratic district. She's made multiple appearances on late-night talk shows, as well as on CNN and MSNBC.

Ocasio-Cortez entered Congress last week with an ambitious agenda to move the Democratic Party further to the left, notably pitching a "Green New Deal" to drastically overhaul the country's energy sector to combat climate change.