The new Congress has barely been sworn in and media pundits have already picked their new internet star – Democratic Representative Ocasio-Cortez. Some are even positioning her as a worthy counter-balance to President Trump’s dominant internet presence.
This, all within the context of the new US political cycle, “Will the Media Be Trump’s Accomplice Again in 2020?”
Kara Swisher, (quoting BuzzFeed News’ Charlie Warzel and adding her own observations) in her New York Times op-ed, “Who Will Win the Internet?” suggests this:
“She is the perfect foil for the pro-Trump media. Her posts are relentless, keeping Ocasio-Cortez in the news cycle. She’s an insurgent, internet-native political force … embodies and morphs the language of the internet fluently…
“What she is doing is significant for politics, because of one key thing: She has made digital depictions of herself seem very analog. In other words, she is perfectly human online … in this she is following in the footsteps of President Trump …
“They are controlling the narrative by doing this so effectively. It’s agenda-setting. Constant content creation forces your opponent to respond to you”
Agenda-setting? Well, here’s an arguable headline: “Ocasio-Cortez Pushes Democrats to the Left Whether They Like It or Not“
Impressive, but it might be thought of as fighting a skyscraper fire with fire from the ground floor.
There are speed bumps ahead for Representative Ocasio-Cortez.
How long will the Democratic House leadership and members put up with such instant political stardom? Some members have already been heard to grumble about all that attention for a freshman without a legislative track record. New York Times: “Her rise has stirred a backlash among some congressional Democrats who are seeking to constrain her anti-establishment streak and fear her more radical ideas could tar the party as socialist.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has an equally pressing concern – keeping Democrats on message: meaning on their major legislative issues for this session such as health care, infrastructure, corruption, and immigration.
And, of course, the presidency itself has the vast un-matched power for generating media attention.
But in the wake of the personalities-over-issues coverage of the 2016 election (and unfortunately, the extreme “if-it bleeds-it leads” standard for news at some media), many Americans
are now asking for more responsible political campaign coverage. One interpretation: New York Times columnist, Frank Bruni: “Will the Media Be Trump’s Accomplice Again?”
Some will say: “Hey it’s “only mid-January – too early for all this 2020 conjecture.”
But apparently not too early for ambitious political figures and thoughtful journalists.