Ocasio-Cortez campaign urges supporters to report critics to Twitter and Facebook
The Georgia Republican defends herself in a House floor speech on Feb. 4, 2021, as Democrats try to remove her from two committees over her past incendiary statements.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign is urging her supporters to report critics on social media who share "misleading information" critical of the "Squad"-leading New York congresswoman in the wake of a riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The campaign email accuses "right-wing operatives with millions of followers" of spreading lies and disinformation about the congresswoman.
"What’s so frustrating about these attacks is that, once the truth comes out, so few people get to hear it," the email reads. "Hundreds of thousands, or potentially millions, of people will have already seen or shared the misleading tweets or fake news articles."
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, file photo, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., questions Postmaster General Louis DeJoy during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Postal Service on Capitol Hill, in Washington. On Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, a teary-eyed Ocasio-Cortez recounted hiding in her office bathroom as a man repeatedly yelled "Where is she?" during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and also revealed a sexual assault in her past as she talked about trauma. (Tom Williams/Pool Photo via AP, File)
And it urges supporters not to use, share or retweet trending hashtags if they contain "misleading information."
"Scan your social media to find posts with this misleading information, especially those using the trending hashtag. Don’t tweet any hashtags yourself, because we don’t want to spread them further!"
"Identify any posts that are threatening or harassing and use the built-in report features to flag them for moderators. Facebook and Twitter both have built in tools for reporting posts and tweets that break the rules."
A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign confirmed that screenshots of the email were authentic.
It came after "#AlexandriaOcasioSmollett" trended on Twitter – a reference to actor Jussie Smollett’s fabricated hate crime claims and reports that the New York Democrat exaggerated the threat she faced during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. (The hashtag was still trending Thursday, along with #AOCLied and #AOCSmollett.)
Ocasio-Cortez has denied such criticism.
"People were trying to rush and infiltrate our office buildings - that’s why we had to get evacuated in the first place," she tweeted on Wednesday.
The congresswoman has said she underwent a "near-death" experience in the locked-down Capitol complex during the riot, although she was not within the U.S. Capitol Building itself. And she’s been feuding with critics in recent days who accuse her of hyping up the threat she faced.
"As the Capitol complex was stormed and people were being killed, none of us knew in the moment what areas were compromised," she tweeted Thursday in response to criticism from freshman Rep. Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican.
Five people died in connection with the riot, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was injured and then suffered a stroke. At least two other police officers committed suicide in the following days.
Last month, Ocasio-Cortez drew First Amendment criticism after floating the idea that Congress could consider ways to "rein in the media environment" amid national tensions over Big Tech censorship and viral fake news.
"When [Ocasio-Cortez] says disinformation or misinformation, she means really anything that goes against progressive leftist dogma," Dave Rubin, the host of "The Rubin Report," told "America’s Newsroom" in mid-January.
The aftermath of the Capitol riot is not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has accused the media of spreading "disinformation."
She tore into NBC News over the summer after it sent out a since-deleted tweet noting that her speech during the Democratic National Convention made no mention of the party’s presidential nominee, then-candidate Joe Biden, but seconded the nomination of his failed primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The purpose of her speech was a formality to acknowledge Sanders’ primary run even though he’d already dropped out of contention.
"So @NBCNews how are you going to fix the incredible amount of damage and misinformation that you are now responsible for?" she wrote in a series of tweets in response to the coverage.