Fox News’ opinion and “hard news” wings have seemingly gone all-in on a new, misleading narrative about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Tuesday evening DNC speech nominating runner-up Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for president, repeatedly suggesting that the progressive star “snubbed” Joe Biden as a sign of Democrats in disarray.
Shortly after Ocasio-Cortez’s largely procedural and symbolic act of seconding Sanders’ nomination on Tuesday evening—a speech which also featured her checking off a number of policy positions she shares with the democratic-socialist senator—several media outlets noted that she never mentioned by name Joe Biden—the party’s actual nominee—in her brief remarks.
The New York congresswoman immediately clarified her role in the convention’s formalities while simultaneously pointing out that she supports Biden’s candidacy in the general election.
“If you were confused, no worries! Convention rules require roll call & nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold. I was asked to 2nd the nom for Sen. Sanders for roll call,” she tweeted. “I extend my deepest congratulations to @JoeBiden – let’s go win in November.”
NBC News, meanwhile, tweeted that the congresswoman “did not endorse Joe Biden” in her speech—fundamentally misrepresenting the tradition and formality behind her speech. Eventually the network deleted the tweet and issued an “editor’s note and clarification” noting that NBC “should have included more detail in the nominating process.” Ocasio-Cortez, however, said the damage had already been done, adding that media outlets knew “WELL in advance” the nature of her “routine” speech.
While NBC News corrected its story, the right-leaning New York Post ran headlong with the narrative that Ocasio-Cortez essentially went rogue and publicly dissed the former vice president, publishing the headline: “AOC nominates Bernie Sanders, snubs Joe Biden in DNC address.” The paper, a Murdoch-owned sister publication of Fox News, also ran a cover photo of the congresswoman with the caption “AOCYA, JOE!”
And so, of course, the deceptively twisted narrative made its way over to Fox, with the network’s hosts and reporters devoting multiple segments to peddling the line that Ocasio-Cortez used her 60-second ceremonial speech to burn Biden.
As the Fox & Friends hosts held up a copy of the Post, Brian Kilmeade declared that “one of the biggest stories” coming out of the DNC was the “hostage video” of AOC “endorsing Bernie Sanders.” This was all a plan by the far left to take over the Democratic Party, the Fox host suggested.
“It looks like there is an agenda trying to get out with Bernie Sanders leading off day one and AOC with her held-to-one-minute speech endorsing Bernard Sanders right after,” Kilmeade continued. “The theory is, and it’s hard to push it down, that once Joe Biden is elected, this party is going flying left, and when things like that happen and you see someone like AOC with the social media rock star she, is basically saying everything bad about the country, where she wants to take it, and what Bernie Sanders would do for it. Bad combination!”
Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins, meanwhile, called Ocasio-Cortez’s speech the “snub of the night,” later adding that the symbolic and long-traditional procedure of nominating a candidate who passed a delegate threshold was shocking.
“Now, many people wondered what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would do with her short time,” Jenkins said. “She nominated Bernie Sanders, which shocked many. She later clarified in a tweet that the convention organizers had asked her to do so, because Sanders had met the delegate threshold to be nominated. However, the organizers did not instruct her to specifically not mention Biden’s name, which was perceived by many as a snub.”
Speaking to the hosts about the convention, The Hill’s media reporter Joe Concha also suggested Ocasio-Cortez deliberately snubbed the Democratic Party standard-bearer.
“AOC, on top of that, during her 60-second speech doesn’t bring up two words very key. It’s a name. Joe Biden,” Concha said. “Didn’t even mention him once. How do you have a Democratic National Convention and not even bring up the nominee?”
The concerted effort to push a classic “Dems in disarray” narrative continued on America’s Newsroom, one of the network’s ostensibly “straight news” programs.
“I can’t help but ask you about what we saw and heard from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her one-minute delivery,” anchor Sandra Smith wondered during an interview with conservative pundit Byron York. “She didn’t even mention Joe Biden by name. The New York Post takes it on this morning: ‘AOCYA, JOE!’ She had her moment and didn’t say Joe Biden’s name.”
The program ran several other segments featuring on-air graphics that blared “Ocasio-Cortez Pushes Progressive Platform During Speech, But Doesn’t Mention Biden” and “Critics Blast Rep Ocasio-Cortez For Leaving Biden Out Of Convention Speech.”
The “critics” in question, however, were left to the viewers’ imaginations.
At the same time, while the show obsessed over the non-story, Smith corrected White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for claiming Ocasio-Cortez “endorsed” Sanders at the DNC.
“To be clear, that’s been reported as a lack of endorsement on her part for Joe Biden. She has asked for clarification from other news outlets this morning, not us, saying that that wasn’t the case,” Smith said. “She didn’t mention Joe Biden’s name last night, but she does support Joe Biden. She put that out there this morning.”
Moments later, however, Trace Gallagher questioned a Democratic flack over what the Fox anchor said was a “very confusing” message delivered by the progressive lawmaker at the DNC.
“I know it was symbolic, Zach, you know, this nomination of Bernie Sanders, but it was also very confusing,” Gallagher said to ex-Obama campaign spokesperson Zach Friend. “This cannot, Zach, be the message that the Biden campaign was hoping for.”
After Friend pointed out that this was actually fairly common in past conventions and that it was intended to be a “good show of unity,” Gallagher insisted that it was still extremely confusing before blasting the DNC for not providing more clarity.
And so Fox’s admitted confusion about a fairly mundane process results in a bogus narrative pushed across its programming.