MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who sang the praises of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  She said, “[Congress] had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected.”

As all things AOC, this caused social media to melt down.

Tom Elliot – the editor of Grabien Media – quickly pointed out on Twitterthat“FDR died in office in 1945; the 22nd Amendment came in 1947.”  Ocasio-Cortez was wrong, and everyone had a good laugh at the junior congresswoman’s mistake, including Liz Cheney who tweeted, “We knew the Democrats let dead people vote. According to @AOC, they can run for President, too.”

The politician quickly acknowledged the error and all was forgotten.   (Just kidding. That sentence has never been written in the history of political journalism.)  

Instead, here’s the very telling story of what happened next.  Newsweekpublished an article under the headline, “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked on Twitter for Constitutional Mistake – But Was She Actually Right?”

At first, I wondered if the editors wanted us to simply click through to see the one-word article – “no.”  But that was not, in fact, the case.  The article defended Ocasio-Cortez:

However, some eagle-eyed social media commenters pointed out that the original architects of the 22nd Amendment were inspired by Roosevelt’s monopoly on the White House and began campaigning long before his death.

“FDR did die in office in ‘45 and the 22nd amendment did come in ‘47 but Congress did start the legislative process in 1944 prior to his death so that he would not be reelected,” another Twitter user wrote in Ocasio-Cortez’s defense. “It was not ratified soon enough and he won in ‘44. AOC did not misspeak, friends.”

The article went on to even claim that “The National Constitution Center also had Ocasio-Cortez’s back. On its website, the nonpartisan organization explained: ‘Talk about a presidential term-limits amendment started in 1944, when Republican candidate Thomas Dewey said a potential 16-year term for Roosevelt was a threat to democracy.’”

But this was not quite right, either.  Tom Maguire pointed outNew York Timesarticle that explained that, “in order to preserve party unity the 1943 proposal was quite explicit in grandfathering FDR as the current officeholder, just as the eventual 22nd Amendment included a grandfather clause.”

FDR was exempt, so Ocasio-Cortez was wrong.  

Imagine if she were a Republican.  Dan Quayle arguably could’ve done his job without knowing how to ever spell potato.  But this congressperson was misleading people about the Constitution.  Even though the stakes are much higher, journalists will ignore this flub.  If she’d been a Republican woman, news magazines would be falling over themselves to mock or ridicule the disgraced politician.  Her shamed face might appear on next week’s cover, with a headline that says her fifteen minutes of political prominence were up.  

Make no mistake: the rules are different for Democrats.

Newsweek’s propaganda enabled Ocasio-Cortez to brazenly clap back on Cheney, “Hey Rep. Cheney, I see from your dead people comment that you get your news from Facebook memes, but the National Constitution Center + Newsweek are just two of many places where you can clarify your misunderstanding of the history of the 22nd Amendment.”  She then linked to the inaccurate article.

Not to be outdone, Cheney fired back, “Hey @AOC, I know you’re busy so I thought this short video would be helpful to introduce you to the basics of the Constitution. If you’re still trying to figure out how a bill becomes a law, they have a great video on that, too.”  She then linked to a School House Rock Video on the Constitution.

Here’s another important aspect of all this back and forth.  Newsweek actually changed the headline of their article. A note at the bottom of the piece explains, “The headline on this article has been updated.”  I’ll say.Instead of asking the question (to which everyone knows the answer is no), the new headline more carefully hid their bias.  The new headline reads:

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked on Twitter for Constitutional Mistake – But Here’s the Full Story.”

Better, but it’s not quite the “full story,” is it, Newsweek?  The full story might include a lament over how so-called “mainstream” news organizations back up liberal politicians at all costs…. Even if the politician is dead wrong.  It might even include a paragraph or two on howNewsweekis merely an extension of the Democratic National Convention.  Hey, maybe it could end in an apology.

Of course, it didn’t and never will.  

And so, we’re trapped in this never-ending cycle of untruth and partisan defenses disguised as journalism.  Again. And again.  And again.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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