It’s hard to say whether or not Politifact ever had any genuine interest in acting as a good-faith fact-checker for U.S. politics, but even if they started out with good intentions, they proved this week that they are just another lame arm for the Resistance. While still operating under a claim of nonpartisanship, they tackled a claim that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was simply crying over an “empty parking lot” when she was supposedly tearing up over migrant children in detention facilities. Politifact rated this claim “FALSE” because AOC was actually looking not at a parking lot…but at a road.
The background: Before being officially elected to Congress, Ocasio-Cortez took time away from her campaign to travel to Tornillo, Texas as part of a liberal protest against migrant detentions. While there, she was photographed by Ivan Pierre Aguirre for a series of shots that immediately went viral. Looking at the pictures, which depict a forlorn AOC clinging to a chain-link fence while staring tearfully at an (unphotographed) scene of misery, one could only come to the conclusion that this young Bronx politicians really, really, really cared.
Turns out, though, that what Ocasio-Cortez was staring at actually WAS photographed by Aguirre. And a few months ago, he released some more photos from the series, apparently in an effort to remind AOC’s followers how much she really, really, really cares about illegal immigrants. But the effort backfired, because this was the first time that the public got to really see what got her all worked up: A desolate expanse of concrete, some parked cars, and, well, not much else.
But after AOC’s critics accused her of staging the photos against a parking lot background, Politifact rushed to her rescue.
“No, this isn’t a photo of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crying over a parking lot,” reported Politifact. “Photographers at the scene who took photos of Ocasio-Cortez say she was not facing a parking lot. Rather she was just beyond the toll plaza for the Tornillo facility, and she standing on a road that led to the Tornillo tent complex, which was in the line of her gaze, as she stood at the fence. Pictures by other outlets also confirm the location.”
Let’s be clear, because the photos are: There are NO migrants visible from Ocasio-Cortez’s vantage point. There is NOTHING to cry about, unless she was simply mourning our national predilection to “pave paradise and put up a parking lot.”
When it benefits Democrats, Politifact “fact-checks” claims by using the most pedantic, specific reasoning available. It’s only when it harms Republicans that they remember that language is metaphorical and expansive, and that when someone says AOC was crying “over a parking lot,” they really mean that she was NOT crying over detained migrants.
Far from clearing up the facts, Politifact is propagating the worst of liberal fake news.