Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday was panned by Washington Post senior political reporter Aaron Blake who said the defense of her falsehoods was “very bad.”
Ocasio-Cortez who was labeled a “shiny object” by outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) stumbled when asked by Anderson Cooper about being given four Pinocchios by The Washington Post Fact Checker for her claims about $21 trillion in waste at the Pentagon.
COOPER: One of the criticisms of you is that– that your math is fuzzy. The Washington Post recently awarded you four Pinocchios —
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Oh my goodness —
COOPER: — for misstating some statistics about Pentagon spending?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: 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.
COOPER: But being factually correct is important–
OCASIO-CORTEZ: It’s absolutely important. And whenever I make a mistake. I say, “Okay, this was clumsy,” and then I restate what my point was. But it’s — it’s not the same thing as — as the president lying about immigrants. It’s not the same thing at all.
$21 TRILLION of Pentagon financial transactions “could not be traced, documented, or explained.”
$21T in Pentagon accounting errors. Medicare for All costs ~$32T.
That means 66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon.
And that’s before our premiums. https://t.co/soT6GSmDSG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2018
The problem with Ocasio-Cortez’s claim is that she either didn’t fully read or understand the article she was referencing in her tweet because if she had she would have known that the $21 trillion estimate isn’t necessarily waste, but sloppy accounting. It also includes money spent and received by the Pentagon. In addition, the $32 billion estimate for Medicare-for-all covers the first 10 years of the program while the Pentagon figure is for 17 years. Apples and oranges.
A DOD spokesman told the Post after the Fact Checker debunked Ocasio-Cortez’s claims that “DoD hasn’t received $21 trillion in (nominal) appropriated funding across the entirety of American history.”
Ocasio-Cortez does herself another disservice according to Blake by saying that people should care less about the facts and more about being “morally right” and treating it as a zero-sum game and saying “Well, maybe I was wrong, but at least my cause is just.”
“There's a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” @AOC says in response to criticism that she’s made factual errors. https://t.co/sKf3sHl9F6 pic.twitter.com/xKc2eB7GEk
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) January 7, 2019