News & Politics

IMPORTANT CORRECTION: AOC Was Weeping Over an Empty Road, Not an Empty Parking Lot

We’ve all seen the harrowing, heartbreaking pictures: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez standing next to a chain-link fence, weeping in anguish over what she saw on the other side.

To look at those pictures, you’d think AOC was gazing helplessly at women and children being tortured in one of those facilities lining the border with Mexico, which we now know are literal concentration camps. Perhaps she was witnessing an execution. An innocent child in front of a firing squad, or maybe a young mother being led to a guillotine. AOC must’ve seen something to make her so upset, right?

Here’s what she was looking at:

But if you think AOC was weeping over an empty parking lot, as some irresponsible right-wing bloggers claimed, you couldn’t be more wrong. Thank goodness, PolitiFact is here to save the day!

Ciara O’Rourke and Stefanie Pousoulides, PolitiFact:

No, this isn’t a photo of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez crying over a parking lot

On June 24, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted images that an El Paso photographer took of her at a Texas town on the U.S.-Mexico border last year…

Critics pounced, posting to social media that the congresswoman was crying over nothing more than a parking lot. Among the stories echoing that sentiment were two shared on Facebook. One was from RT, the Russian government-backed news organization, and another was from conservative news outlet PJ Media, which ran a story with this headline: “AOC weeps over empty parking lot.”

Both Facebook posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

And why is it “false news and misinformation” that “critics pounced” upon? You’re gonna love this one, Dear Reader:

“It isn’t a parking lot,” [photographer Ivan Pierre] Aguirre said. “It’s the road leading to the camp…”

Daniel Borunda, a reporter for the El Paso Times who was at the rally on the same day, told PolitiFact that the tent complex was “visible in the distance several hundred yards away” from the fence…

But was there a parking lot nearby? Krantz said she remembers a small parking lot that was near the port of entry that wasn’t fenced in, but many people parked under the port of entry shelter for shade or alongside the road that led to the port…

We rate this claim False.

That’s right. AOC wasn’t weeping over an empty parking lot. She was weeping over an empty road. She could actually see some tents, hundreds of yards away. That’s why she threw a crying, screaming fit in front of the cameras.

Therefore, if you think AOC’s stunningly photogenic display of emotion was staged, you’re wrong. The claim is false. It’s been flagged by Facebook, and thank goodness for that. The public, and the Democratic politicians who are preferred by the media to lead us, must be protected from this dangerous misinformation.

There are facts, and then there are PolitiFacts.

On behalf of everyone at PJ Media, I regret the error.

(Hat tip: Tim Graham at Newsbusters)


In my defense: