CNN’s Stelter Gushes About AOC’s ‘Mastery of Social Media’

In an apparent follow-up to last Sunday’s praise for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter revisited the freshman Congresswoman during Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” to gush about how she has “true online power” and there was “no doubt about it”.

Stelter began the segment by touting how much social media influence AOC had compared to other politicians:

There's no doubt about it. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC for short, has true online power. She has Twitter power than pretty much any politician except President Trump, according to this CrowdTangle data published by Axios. She’s even past Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s number of Twitter followers. She’s all over Instagram as well. She’s using Instagram, sometimes live videos on Instagram to chat with voters, to have conversations. They answer questions…

Of course, Stelter was interested in how “she's also using Twitter and other platforms to challenge conservative media critics and to fire back at them.” To answer his deep questions, Stelter invited on Saikat Chakrabarti, her chief of staff. His first question? “How would you describe the first month?”

With the chyron reading “AOC fights back agaidnst conservative media critics” on the screen, Stelter asserted, without evidence, that “Fox News and other right-wing outlets talk about AOC more than they talk about practically anyone on planet Earth.” He then diminished Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren to merely a “talking head” for daring to question AOC’s influence offline.

 

 

What is your reaction to that? How are you trying to translate her Twitter audience, for example, into policy, into actually making change,” Stelter asked Chakrabarti. “Well, I think that the thing that’s exciting about the way Alexandria uses Twitter is, she does make it about policy. Right? She changed the entire debate about taxes in this country in a matter of days,” Chakrabarti responded.

With the chyron now reading “explaining the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez phenomenon,” Stelter was eager to tout her on taxes too:

You mentioned taxes. That's the 60 Minutes interview, right? Anderson Cooper sits down with her in early January, she talks about a 70 percent tax on the tenth millionth dollar. And I agree with you, she has changed the tax debate. How strategic was that on your part?

Looking to share more sappy headlines, Stelter read Chakrabarti a Politico headline he thought would make his guest “smile.” “It’s a piece titled: ‘Why Trump's super fans dig AOC.' Representative Matt Gaetz was quoted as saying, ‘I aspire to be the conservative AOC.' What's your reaction? You got any advice for him?” Stelter wondered.

Towards the end of the segment, Stelter once again brought it back to AOC vs conservative media:

I noticed my colleague Oliver Darcy making the point the other day that AOC has a symbiotic relationship with her critics. They dunk on her, she dunks back on them. So what is you're Fox strategy? Do you and her talk about how to handle Fox News, whether to go on Fox News, for example?

Stelter really does have an unhealthy obsession with Fox News and conservative media. This is CNN.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s Reliable Sources
February 3, 2019
11:27:53 a.m. Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: There's no doubt about it. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC for short, has true online power. She has Twitter power than pretty much any politician except President Trump, according to this CrowdTangle data published by Axios. She’s even past Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s number of Twitter followers. She’s all over Instagram as well. She’s using Instagram, sometimes live videos on Instagram to chat with voters, to have conversations. They answer questions and she's also using Twitter and other platforms to challenge conservative media critics and to fire back at them. But does her online power translate to political power? How are her aides trying to make sure it does translate?

Let's talk about it with Saikat Chakrabarti, he’s the chief of staff to AOC, and he’s joining me now from Washington. Saikat, I'm really curious about what your last month has been, working with her as a freshman congresswoman. How would you describe the first month?

SAIKAT CHAKRABARTI: Oh, I mean, it's a whirlwind, I guess. We didn't expect to show up into a government shutdown. So, that sort of threw everything off the rails, right? But it’s been exciting.

(…)

STELTER: As you know, as you know better than most, Fox News and other right-wing outlets talk about AOC more than they talk about practically anyone on planet Earth. There was a headline the other day from one of the Fox talking heads, saying, she doesn't think AOC is “successful in real life." Maybe in online life but not in real life. What is your reaction to that? How are you trying to translate her Twitter audience, for example, into policy, into actually making change?

CHAKRABARTI: Well, I think that the thing that’s exciting about the way Alexandria uses Twitter is, she does make it about policy. Right? She changed the entire debate about taxes in this country in a matter of days. She made green new deal at the forefront of every presidential candidate’s brains. Right? Everyone’s having to respond to the stuff. It's trying to say that Twitter power is not real-life power is like trying to say that someone going on TV and making a case or putting out – or Bernie Sanders talking about Medicare for all is not real power, somehow that does not translate into real life. These are real politics she's pushing on Twitter.

(…)

STELTER: You mentioned taxes. That's the 60 Minutes interview, right? Anderson Cooper sits down with her in early January, she talks about a 70 percent tax on the tenth millionth dollar. And I agree with you, she has changed the tax debate. How strategic was that on your part?

(…)

STELTER: This headline might have made you smile, from Politico. It’s a piece titled: “Why Trump's super fans dig AOC”. Representative Matt Gaetz was quoted as saying, “I aspire to be the conservative AOC”. What's your reaction? You got any advice for him?

CHAKRABARTI: I mean, you know, same advice that she would probably give, like be yourself and try to stay above the fray. Actually talk about policy, actually try to have a real debate. And that's what she's trying to do.

(…)

STELTER: I noticed my colleague Oliver Darcy making the point the other day that AOC has a symbiotic relationship with her critics. They dunk on her, she dunks back on them. So was is you all’s Fox strategy? Do you and her talk about how to handle Fox News, whether to go on Fox News, for example?

CHAKRABARTI: Look, so she's got an incredible, I think, ability to figure out when to engage with conservative critics and she does it every time that she can advance the conversation on some sort of topic, right?

(…)

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