WaPo Slaps Ocasio-Cortez With 4 Pinocchios for Claiming Pentagon Accounting Errors Could Pay for Health Care

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was back on her grind of saying things that cause all of right-wing Twitter to come unglued. This time, however, the Washington Post even got in on the fun of correcting newly elected congresswoman.

In this edition, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that a $21 trillion accounting error calculated in a Pentagon audit could pay for two-thirds of her “Medicare-for-all” policy. As IJR previously reported, the policy would cost Americans $32 trillion over 10 years.

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to explain how easy it was for her to find the money for health care.

The reality is that the accounting practice used to come up with the $21 trillion number follows each dollar through every inflow and outflow that wasn’t properly accounted. In other words, these are dollar transactions that were not accounted. $21 trillion didn’t disappear, it just wasn’t properly documented.

Per usual, Twitter users swarmed to point out how wrong Ocasio-Cortez was about the missing Pentagon money. They even brought some fun facts of their own:

Although it is usually just conservatives getting in on the fun of correcting Ocasio-Cortez, the Washington Post fact-checkers also issued a blistering review of her comments, calling it a “swing and a miss.”

In its fact check, the Post noted that the very article Ocasio-Cortez used to slam those opposed to “Medicare-for-all” explained the accounting.

“This key distinction was duly noted in the Nation article that Ocasio-Cortez referenced on Twitter,” it stated.

Although the Post admitted that factual inaccuracies are common on Twitter, it also expressed frustration with Ocasio-Cortez because she made no effort to correct her misleading statements.

The Post wrote:

Ocasio-Cortez is not the first Twitter user to mangle information from a news report. But it’s unconvincing to try to pass this off as a rhetorical point being misread. She cited the $21 trillion figure and said “66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon.”

That’s a direct comparison. It’s badly flawed. The same article she referenced on Twitter would have set her straight. The tweet is still up, probably causing confusion. So we will award Four Pinocchios to Ocasio-Cortez.

Although this fact check of Ocasio-Cortez was brutal, it likely won’t impact anything she does or says.

If joining a protest in the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on her first day at the Capitol didn’t make it clear that Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t care about criticism, then her Twitter feed certainly will.

Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.

What do you think?


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Phyllis Softa

Thank you, Madison for helping to dispel the incorrect perception that AOC is a darling of the MSM. She gets more press on IJR and FOX than any outlet I read/listen. If you covered the SNL piece, I missed it. https://mashable.com/video/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-saturday-night-live/#sFE7nriDPZqs

Rocky Drummond

IJR keeps on selecting pictures showing AOC being very expressive. I can only believe that there is a reason behind you doing this so often.


The farce is strong in this one.

Doesn’t a “degree” in economics require, at a minimum, basic numeracy? I’m still unconvinced her dual degrees aren’t anything but expensive participation trophies.





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