There’s a parody account mocking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), and the liberal media are scandalized.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 29, 2023
Journalists appear to share Ocasio-Cortez’s concern that the account, with a recent boost from Twitter owner Elon Musk, is spreading “disinformation”—not to mention harassing the progressive congresswoman.
The account is fooling some of the people who read its tweets—bringing to life some of the fears about Musk’s paid verification system that stripped legacy verified users of their blue check marks. In the replies, there is a mix of responses from people taking the tweets at face value and attributing them to the real Ocasio-Cortez, while others point out that it’s a parody account.
The account’s most viral tweet plays into a sexist trope that Musk and other conservatives have embraced since his Twitter takeover—that Ocasio-Cortez is secretly attracted to him.
Business Insider: “AOC slams Elon Musk for promoting parody account after it joked she had a ‘crush’ on him—and he flirted back.”
As Ocasio-Cortez pointed out herself, Musk engaging with the fake account both legitimizes it and helps boost its visibility on the platform. But Musk’s joking is also indicative of the right wing’s weird obsession with the New York representative. Republicans hate Ocasio-Cortez and are quick to blame her for just about anything. But they also all seem to find her attractive, creating a bizarre dynamic that leaves the rest of us baffled.
Jezebel: “The post by Ocasio-Cortez’s impersonator has since opened the congresswoman to a vile avalanche of sexual harassment and creepy tweets, in no small part thanks to the lift from Musk.”
The fact-checkers rushed in.
Reuters: “Fact Check-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t tweet that ‘printing money is the only way out of inflation.'”
Snopes: “Snopes has debunked many fake AOC tweets in the past. One fabricated screenshot that circulated during the COVID-19 pandemic, claimed that Ocasio-Cortez urged that businesses be kept closed until after the 2020 election. In another, she allegedly called for Democrats to commence with ‘The Purge’ (a reference to the 2013 horror film) after U.S. President Joe Biden was elected.”
One question the media aren’t asking: Why is the over-the-top parody account, which is labeled as such, so convincing?
Not only does the real Ocasio-Cortez have a history of cutesy sparring with Musk on Twitter, she has been known to spread disinformation of her own.
AOC wants so much to be a victim that she’s now spreading a conspiracy theory that Elon Musk personally messed with her phone so it wouldn’t load up Twitter. Because technical issues never happen, right?
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 3, 2022
Just like Trump’s, AOC’s appeal is a matter of rhetoric and personality, not of policy acumen or relevant experience. She struggles every bit as much as the president does with facts. Basic norms about American civic life appear to have eluded her. She struggled—twice—to name the three branches of government in a recent conversation. She is, to put it kindly, not good with numbers. She believes it is possible for the Pentagon to have lost track of $21 trillion in the past seven years, a figure that is both larger than the gross domestic product of the United States and far in excess of the entire combined budget of our military from 1789 to the present. (After this was pointed out to her, she responded by doubling down and making fun of her interlocutor’s family.) She has also insisted that the Pentagon received an additional $700 billion from Congress this year, which would have been a roughly 100 percent increase in its budget: “They were like, we don’t want another fighter jet! Don’t give us another nuclear bomb. They didn’t even ask for it. And we gave it to them.” But actually, like, they didn’t because the actual increase from 2017 to 2018 was $61 billion.
But, unlike certain billionaires associated with the right, Ocasio-Cortez has often gotten a pass from the media—or better.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was arrested during an abortion-rights demonstration outside the Supreme Court. She didn’t fake the arrest. https://t.co/sp8Sx6NRvc
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) July 31, 2022
It’s almost as though the media aren’t trustworthy themselves.
More than 50 former senior intelligence officials believe the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden ‘has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation” https://t.co/T58QhdXEJd
— POLITICO (@politico) October 20, 2020