Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Defiant in Face of Right Wing Media: I Could Have Let Them Tear Me To Shreds...But I Define Myself

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has defended her outspoken responses to continued criticism from right-wing commentators. Responding to a tweet by Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, the New York congresswoman admitted the level of attention she receives makes her uncomfortable—but she says she's channeling that attention towards policy.

"To be honest, I'm somewhat uneasy about all the attention [Ocasio-Cortez] is getting, because a lot of it is obviously for the wrong reasons," Krugman wrote Wednesday in a series of tweets praising the congresswoman. "She's telegenic and her shocking rise makes a good story; but there are lots of impressive freshmen in this class, and she gets all the attention."

I’m uneasy about it too. It’s stressful & scary, but it’s also out of my control, so the best thing I can do is try to focus that attention on the most urgent issues of our time: climate change, good gov, jobs, wages, justice; and highlight the contradictions you explain here.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 16, 2019

"It's stressful [and] scary," Ocasio-Cortez replied to the New York Times columnist. "But it's also out of my control." Instead of letting members of the "far right" tear her "to shreds," she said in a subsequent tweet that she's fighting back against her critics. "I chose to define myself instead of allowing them to take that away from me," she wrote.

A champion of policies such as single-payer healthcare and the Green New Deal, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted "the best thing [she] could do" was focus the attention she receives from her critics on "urgent" issues like climate change and justice.

Ocasio-Cortez frequently uses her impressive Twitter power—which Axios reported is second only to that of Donald Trump in a list of prominent politicians and media outlets—to hit back at her critics and promote the policies she supports.

On January 7, for example, the congresswoman shared a still of Sean Hannity addressing her "radical platform" on Fox News. Text accompanying the commentator listed policies including "70 percent federal tax rate," "government funded universal healthcare" and "ending military air strikes."

Ocasio-Cortez poked fun at the criticism with some adjustments to his policy list. "He's almost got it!" she wrote. "Just a few corrections: Single-payer healthcare, ending unjust wars, 70 percent marginal tax rate on multimillion incomes."

Back in November, she blasted Fox News for a policy list shared by conservative pundit Laura Ingraham, which listed the "radical new Democratic ideas" of the congresswoman and her colleagues Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley.

She shared an image of the list on Instagram with the comment: "Fox News discovered our vast conspiracy to take care of children and save the planet."

Media representatives for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Paul Krugman did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paul Krugman, Right Wing Media, Twitter, Social Media, Fox News
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks to fellow members of Congress during the first session of the 116th Congress at the U.S. Capitol January 03, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Image