During the virtual Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was tasked with nominating Bernie Sanders for president. This symbolic tradition happens for any nominee who has amassed more than 300 delegates.
Ocasio-Cortez recited a moving and passionate speech in which she lauded Sanders for his work towards repairing an “economy that rewards explosive inequalities of wealth for the few, at the expense of long-term stability for the many” and his rejection of “the violence and xenophobia of [America’s] past.”
Although the speech was well-thought-out and expertly written, its reception was met with confusion and derision. Critics on both sides of the aisle came after Ocasio-Cortez for what they called her divisive actions — an opinion that was spurred on by provocative and misleading reporting by multiple journalistic outlets.
After her pre-recorded 60 second speech, NBC News tweeted out: “In one of the shortest speeches of the DNC rep Ocasio-Cortez did not endorse Joe Biden,” insinuating that Ocasio-Cortez was pushing her own agenda at the expense of the unity of the Democratic party. Soon after, social media was aflame with people calling Ocasio-Cortez “disappointing” and claiming she insists things be “her way or the highway.”
In response to the criticism, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to explain her speech. “If you were confused, no worries! Convention rules require roll call & nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold. I was asked to 2nd the nom for Sen. Sanders for roll call.”
In other words, the nomination has nothing to do with an “endorsement,” and definitely doesn’t have to do with pushing her own agenda or “snubbing” Biden, whom Ocasio-Cortez who has previously (and frequently) endorsed.
Not one to sit back while being attacked, Ocasio-Cortez challenged NBC News for their clickbait reporting: “So @NBCNews how are you going to fix the incredible amount of damage and misinformation that you are now responsible for?” she Tweeted. “Because a 1:15 am tweet to slip under the radar after blowing up a totally false and divisive narrative across networks isn’t it.”
Even though NBC News retracted their tweet with an apology, it appears that the damage has already been done. Multiple media outlets continued to peddle the ongoing narrative that Ocasio-Cortez is a troublesome rabble-rouser within the Democratic party, hellbent on sewing party division at her own benefit.
Some Democrats are afraid that a rift between progressive Democrats and neo-liberal Democrats could drive fringe voters to a third-party candidate, lowering Biden’s chances of winning in November.
One thing is for certain: voters will never be able to make an educated decision about their vote if media outlets continue to spread false information.