A number of media outlets have noted PolitiFact's fact check of the claim Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cried about an empty parking lot. We like the account from Amanda Prestigiacomo at the Daily Wire:
Politifact is at it again! The left-wing fact-checker purporting to be unbiased made a mockery of themselves (again) with their latest rating concerning socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Politifact, creating their best damage control for the freshman congresswoman, rated the claim that Ocasio-Cortez cried in front of an empty parking lot for a photo-op as "false" because it was, in fact, a "road" with some parked cars, not a parking lot, that the elected Democrat cried in front of.The hilarity of the story took an exponential leap when PolitiFact Editor Angie Drobnic Holan took to Twitter in defense of PolitiFact:
Holan's defense falls flat because the original story with the "parking lot" language was using humor to make a point. Ocasio-Cortez had nothing to look at that should reasonably produce the emotional response she wore for the camera.There were no children or refugees in view. At most, she would have been able to see signs of the tents set up to house illegal immigrants.Our #factcheck does not describe the scene as just "an empty road." The road is part of a larger site that our fact-check fully documents. You can see an arial photograph of the site that shows way more than the 'empty parking lot' posts.— Angie Drobnic Holan (@AngieHolan) July 23, 2019
Crying at the sight of distant tents is a little like breaking down upon seeing a hospital. Because of all the suffering that happens in hospitals. But that type of response is uncommon, right?
PolitiFact's reporting leaves doubt as to whether a person at the fence could see tents:
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.Certainly PolitiFact's reporting seems intended to produce the impression one could see tents from the entryway fence. But Borunda's quotation is cut off and instead of relying on Borunda we end up relying on PolitiFact for the information. We think it likely PolitiFact fudged the facts.
There's good reason to suspect Borunda did not claim tents were visible from the fence. The Google Maps image, for example, shows great distance and a number of buildings between the entry area and the section of the complex where the tents were set up. Click through to the map and explore for yourself.
There are two buildings that appear round from above to the east of the main ICE building. The tents for the tent city (along with a sloped-roof structure that does not appear in the Google image) occur just south of those buildings in aerial photographs of the time.
It's worth pointing out that photo we just linked shows a line of buildings and a parking lot between the tent city and Ocasio-Cortez's reported location.
This image from later the same year (September 2018) shows the growth of the tent city stretching South and East from its original location--further from Ocasio-Cortez's vantage point and likewise with a view punctuated by intervening buildings and trees. And that was after Ocasio-Cortez made her visit (June 21, 2018).
Did any photographers take pictures of the tent city from outside the fence at Ocasio-Cortez's location? We'd love to see them, if they exist.
We took our analysis one step further. The images of Ocasio-Cortez, along with PolitiFact's reporting, appear to place her between two sections of wall outside the border compound. A road and a sidewalk run between the sections of wall, and it appears the north wall features a sliding fence/gate that officials may use to block the roadway.
If we're correct about the location, that puts the south part of the wall between Ocasio-Cortez and any view of the tent city.
|We put a cluster of red dots where we believe Ocasio-Cortez stood.|
The fall of the shadows in the photographs of Ocasio-Cortez suggest the pictures were taken in the morning, if we're correct. An image posted at the end of Time Magazine story supports our analysis (showing evidence of the line of trees to the left of the roadway, along with the utility poles). Facing the road leaves the tent city directly to the left of the protesters pictured, behind a wall and out of sight.
Update July 27, 2019: A kind reader pointed out an excess of "not" in the paragraph beginning with "Holan's defense." We took it out. Our thanks to the kind reader.