Washington Post media analyst Margaret Sullivan offered a broad defense of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Monday, lauding the freshman lawmaker for running rings around her critics online and suggesting the attacks on her were rooted in sexism.
“Having lavished her with positive attention, commentators seemed to feel a palpable joy in taking her down a few pegs,” Sullivan wrote, noting some recent high-profile facts checks of Ocasio-Cortez statements. “It’s all way out of proportion — powered, in no small part, by unacknowledged sexism.”
Sullivan zeroed in on a specific critic — National Journal political editor Josh Kraushaar — who said that Trump and Ocasio-Cortez both shared a similar penchant for media scolding after she attacked CBS News for not having named an African-American among a new crop of 2020 campaign reporters and producers.
“How often do you hear the word ‘scold’ applied to men? Not never, certainly, but not nearly as predictably as to outspoken women, the same ones who should modulate their voices and smile more,” Sullivan said.
Ocasio-Cortez didn’t need Sullivan to defend her, and laced into Kraushaar herself over the comparison the the president.
“I keep thinking about this exchange bc there are many aspects that are concerning to hear from an *editor,*” she tweeted. “This is what false equivalence looks like: diminishing Trump’s ‘enemy of the people’ talk as ‘scolding’ & describing my call to hire a black journalist as the same thing.”
With a social media presence that now dwarfs the nation’s most powerful Democratic politicians, Ocasio-Cortez has become a serious power in media and on Capitol Hill as journalists and fellow lawmakers struggle on how best to approach her left-of-center ideas.
Ocasio-Cortez has managed to deflect the attacks on many of her critics, including a Washington Examiner reporter who made fun of her clothes, a Newsmax host who made fun of her childhood home and a Fox Business guest who called her a “little girl” on live television.