Cream puff journalism: CBS's 60 Minutes 'interviews' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
In an example of journalism used to conceal, rather than expose, truth, CBS's 60 Minutes can stand up and take a bow for its mother of all puff pieces on New York's newly elected socialist congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Cream puff journalism at its finest. Heck, it was a campaign ad. Or call it a belated campaign contribution, because it was anything but hard-hitting.
How was this report biased? Well, start with the camera lighting and coloration, which we learned all about back when 60 Minutes manipulated it to make President Trump's former adviser, Steve Bannon, look like a bleary-eyed drunk.
Ocasio-Cortez's lighting, seen in the whites of her eyes and her teeth, comes off as blindingly white. Yes, she's young, and yes, she has access to WhiteStrips for that movie-star smile. But not all of the frames show that blinding whiteness and utter smoothness of skin, which apparently has been applied to some extent to interviewer Anderson Cooper, too. This clip shows Ocasio-Cortez with more natural coloring and facial lines. This one shows what looks like an apparent re-touch to cartoon-like coloring and line-free skin.
What a nice favor they did for her.
It gets worse.
CBS distorts a couple of well known facts to Ocasio-Cortez's advantage, portraying her wealthy upbringing and her architect dad as lower-middle-class Bronx scrappers. Her architect dad with his own architectural firm became a man who ran "a small architectural business." Kind of like a bodega-owner, right, Anderson? They showed footage of her house, which was plain enough, but didn't mention the price tag on that plain house out there in the highly desirable Manhattan suburbs, which Ocasio-Cortez says was moved to because of the good schools. One wonders why she got into only a middling one such as Boston University with those high hopes.
There's no mention of Ocasio-Cortez's apparently bitter experience going bankrupt in a small hipster tech business and winding up a bartender shortly after college. Some valuable insights could have been made about why she turned to coercive, expropriatory socialism as her life's philosophy after that, but Cooper smothered that with a pillow.
There also was the truncation of the Trump administration's strongest defense against Ocasio-Cortez's widely flung charges of Trump being a racist (a single element from the entire report that CBS released for sharing from its original report for wide distribution) – that Trump won a greater share of the black and Latino vote than other Republicans, and those voters may have been his margin of victory in 2016, and that black and Latino unemployment has reached its lowest levels ever recorded. Household income in those groups is up sharply, as is Trump's approval rating. And rap superstar Kanye West came out just a few days ago to reiterate his liking for President Trump. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders's retort to Ocasio-Cortez, based on Ocasio-Cortez's claims to Trump supposedly being a racist, was by contrast narrow and absent of the far stronger stuff that has been put out there and that Ocasio-Cortez should have been forced to address.
Then there were the softball questions and the failures to follow up with any probing.
Ocasio-Cortez fumbled around about her repeated inability to get her facts straight with this blather exchange:
Anderson Cooper: One of the criticisms of you is that – that your math is fuzzy. The Washington Post recently awarded you four Pinocchios –
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Oh my goodness –
Anderson Cooper: – for misstating some statistics about Pentagon spending?
Rep. Alexandria 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.
Anderson Cooper: But being factually correct is important –
Rep. Alexandria 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.
Might there be some connection between fuzzy math from this person who wants to take away 70% of the earnings of "the rich," and her failure to understand the issues or the implications of her ideas? Cooper wasn't about to ask.
Cooper also superficially brought up Venezuela and Cuba as examples of the failed socialism Ocasio-Cortez proposes as a self-described "radical," allowing her to evade that issue with aplomb.
Anderson Cooper: When people hear the word socialism, they think Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela. Is that what you have in mind?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Of course (LAUGH) not. What we have in mind – and what of my – and my policies most closely re – resemble what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland, in Sweden.
Memo to morons: Neither Sweden, nor Britain, nor Norway has a socialist command economy. Some are led by right-wingers. All of them pay for state projects such as health care through high taxes. Shouldn't Cooper have brought up that the Other People's Money has run out on Britain's socialist health system, and there's been a problem with ambulances dumping patients at the hospital doors, in addition to long waiting lines, and horrors such as the killing of baby Charlie Gard? All of that, courtesy of government control of health care.
Most Americans hear about this stuff and conclude that More Government is not the answer to their health care issues.
Ocasio-Cortez is also allowed to get away with laughing off how she'd pay for some of her grandiose take-over-the-economy ideas. No wonder Cooper decided not to bring up her supposed economics degree from Boston University, given that he wanted to make her look good. Look at how she skirts the question:
Anderson Cooper: How are you going to pay for all of this?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: No one asks how we're gonna pay for this Space Force. No one asked how we paid for a $2 trillion tax cut. We only ask how we pay for it on issues of housing, healthcare and education. How do we pay for it? With the same exact mechanisms that we pay for military increases for this Space Force. For all of these – ambitious policies.
Memo to the pair: Yes, they do. Ocasio-Cortez brings up the old canards about U.S. military spending being high and how cutting it (which would mean Europe would have to end its fat welfare programs and pay for its own defense) would free up social welfare money, but she has no idea about how expropriatory taxation, which she proposes, shrinks the economy and drives entrepreneurs and wealth-creators, not to mention savers, to Go Galt and simply not participate. We saw a lot of that with the Obama economy, which, naturally, Cooper fails to bring up.
There's also this:
Anderson Cooper: How to pay for it.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: We pay more per capita in health care and education for lower outcomes than many other nations. And so for me, what's unrealistic is – is what we're living in right now.
So Ocasio-Cortez wants us to pay even more on top of that? What a plan. No follow-up from Cooper.
What we see here is an amazing effort to build up Ocasio-Cortez, what with the photo-retouching, the omissions, the distorted story, and the softball questions. Sam Goldwyn, call your office.
The rest of us can dismiss this two-part show as just plain rubbish.