NYT Heds, Beyond Parody: 'Lawmaker’s Staff Flubs Green New Deal Plan, and G.O.P. Pounces'

February 12th, 2019 7:27 PM

It’s almost predictable at this point: Democrats embarrass themselves, and the media frames it not as a Democratic error, but as a case of cynical Republicans “pouncing” to take political advantage. The latest example was a brief New York Times story on the thoroughly botched embarrassment that was the launch of the radical Green New Deal: “Lawmaker’s Staff Flubs Green New Deal Plan, and G.O.P. Pounces,” the headline to environmental reporter Coral Davenport’s story in Tuesday’s edition.

The rest of the headline was conveniently uninformative, shielding the name of the Democratic “lawmaker” (leftist darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) from embarrassment, while shuffling the blame onto her staff:

Days after introducing her Green New Deal -- a plan to combat climate change that has won the endorsement of several Democratic presidential candidates -- Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found the proposal enmeshed in confusion when her staff published a summary that included provisions not endorsed by the candidates.

In case you wanted to blame the “pounced” recurrence on the headline writer, here’s Davenport herself:

Over the weekend her staff backed away from the document, saying it was incomplete and had been published by accident, after Republicans pounced on the plan, citing a blog post of frequently asked questions. That post included language that called for economic security “for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”

“An early draft of a FAQ that was clearly unfinished and that doesn’t represent the GND resolution got published to the website by mistake,” Saikat Chakrabarti, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, wrote on Twitter, referring to the plan by its acronym.

Davenport named all the prospective Democratic candidates for 2020 who had signed on to the resolution, then literally “turned” the controversy around on the GOP:

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has promoted the plan as a blueprint for the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. But Republicans have turned the episode with the FAQ into a campaign moment, putting out a news release saying the document revealed the “new extreme left’s startling priorities.”

Davenport let the Ocasio-Cortez team off the hook for its incompetence and fibbing.

“Mistakes happen” when coordinating multiple groups and collaborators, Mr. Chakrabarti wrote on Twitter. “What’s in the resolution is the GND.”

Hot Air’s John Sexton was all over the Davenport story, and filled in what she didn’t bother reporting, or where she botched the controversy’s timeline:

The NY Times published a summary today which omits all the troubling details and manages to work in the standard “Republicans pounce” formula used routinely by the media for any story that embarrasses a Democrat. This headline is like a parody...the FAQ was posted on AOC’s site two days before the official rollout of the Green New Deal resolution. So she didn’t get in trouble “days after” because her office published the FAQ. She got in trouble because her office gave the FAQ to news outlets that published it, allowing people to read it...the fact that this wasn’t just published on the web but was intentionally handed out to NPR and other outlets by AOC’s staff as part of the Green New Deal rollout doesn’t even get a mention in the NY Times version of events.