Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) criticized Amazon’s public relations campaign as “racist & classist,” but her tweet was not met with much mainstream media coverage. Fox News and the New York Post were the sole major media outlets which covered her comments.
“Amazon’s attempt to smear Chris Smalls, one of their own warehouse workers, as “not smart or articulate” is a racist & classist PR campaign,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “If execs are as concerned abt worker health & safety as they claim, then they should provide the full paid sick leave ALL workers deserve.”
Amazon’s attempt to smear Chris Smalls, one of their own warehouse workers, as “not smart or articulate” is a racist & classist PR campaign.
If execs are as concerned abt worker health & safety as they claim, then they should provide the full paid sick leave ALL workers deserve. https://t.co/pAubxenDwr
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 3, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez was citing a Vice story, which published parts of a leaked Amazon memo on striking warehouse workers in Staten Island.
In the memo, Amazon’s general counsel David Zapolsky said that the leading striker, Christian Smalls, was “not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers.”
Workers, led by Smalls, walked out of Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse to protest working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
An Amazon spokesperson disputed Ocasio-Cortez’s claims.
“That’s not true. In fact, Mr. Zapolsky didn’t even know the race of the person at the time he made his comments,” said the spokesperson.
Fox News and the New York Post reported on Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, but no other mainstream media outlet acknowledged Ocasio-Cortez’s claims. The mainstream media, outside of Fox News, ignores many of Ocasio-Cortez’s false claims. For example, CNN’s Jake Tapper did not fact-check her claim that Trump called the coronavirus a “hoax” during an live CNN interview. The mainstream media also did not correct Ocasio-Cortez when she made erroneous claims about Amazon’s tax liabilities last week. The media must do a better job of fact-checking Ocasio-Cortez as she is a potentially-emerging leader in the Democratic Party and garners grassroots support within her party.