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Russian Op-Ed Smears Ocasio-Cortez, Mistaking Memes for Actual Quotes


Russian Op-Ed Smears Ocasio-Cortez, Mistaking Memes for Actual Quotes
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Russian Op-Ed Smears Ocasio-Cortez, Mistaking Memes for Actual Quotes

Dmitry Kosyrev

Dmitry Kosyrev

Political commentator, Russia Today

"’In 1941, the Germans dropped an atomic bomb on us’: who now rules in the U.S.”

False
Author misattributes satirical meme generated quotes to Ocasio-Cortez

Dmitry Kosyrev, a political commentator for the government media conglomerate "MIA Rossiya Segodnya" took aim at freshman U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a December 16, 2018 RIA Novosti op-ed headlined “’In 1941, the Germans dropped an atomic bomb on us’: who now rules in the U.S.”

Kosyrev described Ocasio-Cortez – at 29, the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress -- as being “famous for her enchanting ignorance.”

Noting that there are “several sites where her statements are collected,” Kosyrev attributed the following quotes to the congresswoman:

  • "If we give visas to immigrants, why not also give them a Mastercard?"
  • "Do you think a person will ever walk on the sun as he did on the Moon?"
  • "I don’t remember what year the Cold War was, but I know it was in the winter."
  • "Never forget that on December 7, 1941, the Germans dropped an atomic bomb on Pearl Harbor."
A screen capture from the website, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Memes.
A screen capture from the website, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Memes.

Kosyrev used those quotes to attack the nature of democracy, saying “it’s possible, for example, to think about what’s wrong with democracy if it doesn’t prevent the election of such characters.”

He also summarized general talking points used to criticize the U.S. Democratic Party, and called Ocasio-Cortez a “typical product” of the American educational system, which he called a “disaster.”

He added that Russia imported its educational system from the U.S. and Europe “at the very moment of collapse” in the 1990s, and that, given the current state of Russia’s educational system, graduates there could similarly come to the conclusion that the Cold War occurred “in the winter of an unknown year.”

While Kosyrev’s lengthy criticism of the U.S. educational system could have some merit, his conclusion followed his failure to notice or tell his audience Ocasio-Cortez never made any of the above statements.

The quotations he cited came from the “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Memes” website, a self-described “parody website,” which says its “main purpose is to be funny and make people laugh.”

A screen capture taken from the website, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez memes.
A screen capture taken from the website, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez memes.

“This website is not affiliated in any way with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her agents, or anyone acting on her behalf in any way. This website is not affiliated with any political party, PAC, Government Agency of any county, or organization of any kind. Really it's just one guy who builds websites for a living that had a crazy idea that wouldn't go away,” a statement on the website’s “About Us” page reads.

Both her youth and political positions as a self-described democratic socialist have attracted an unusual level of media attention for a freshly-minted member of the U.S. Congress.

Russian state-funded broadcaster RT, in a January 5 article headlined “Premature obsession: Ocasio-Cortez's top 7 media moments before setting foot in the Capitol,” wrote that “the Right, in particular, has pounced on minor gaffes that would be quickly forgiven among their own ranks.”

A screen capture of RT's January, 5, 2019 article, "Premature obsession: Ocasio-Cortez's top 7 media moments before setting foot in the Capitol."
A screen capture of RT's January, 5, 2019 article, "Premature obsession: Ocasio-Cortez's top 7 media moments before setting foot in the Capitol."

But in the case of Kosyrev, what he assumed were gaffes were in fact instances of political parody that he took at face value.

Polygraph.info therefore finds the premise of his article to be false.

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