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Ocasio-Cortez blasts Fox News: Why are ‘grown men just obsessed with this 29-year-old?’

Referring to Fox News’s coverage of her, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked Seth Meyers why so many grown men are obsessed with her. (Video: Blair Guild, Danielle Kunitz/The Washington Post)
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) may have struggled at first to find an apartment in Washington, but she’s been living rent-free inside the heads of Fox News commentators ever since.

Ocasio-Cortez’s early career rise as a leading Democratic Party figure means she is seemingly everywhere lately, or at least wherever Time magazine is sold. But she has also bedeviled Republicans who have fixated on her, often becoming a stand-in target for criticizing liberal policies.

And that means plenty of mentions from Fox News hosts and guests, “Late Night” host Seth Meyers suggested Thursday.

“I mean, it’s weird. Like, why are so many grown men just obsessed with this 29-year-old?” Ocasio-Cortez asked the NBC show host. “No, but I think it’s really funny, and the conspiracy theories are great.”

One theory floated by Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee: Ocasio-Cortez is a brainwashed agent sent to bring down the country from the inside.

The former Arkansas governor was asked by “Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade if Ocasio-Cortez’s rise and her level of preparedness was the result of “forces” at work.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has become the latest target of an online smear campaign, which is harnessing common tactics used to attack women. (Video: Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post)

“Well, there very well could be. I know there has been some allegations that she was almost like the Manchurian Candidate, recruited, prepared,” Huckabee said Thursday. “You know, I don’t know. But the point is that she got her voters out.”

Ocasio-Cortez took the moment to suggest paying her staff a wage of at least $52,000 has second-order effects.

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“I’m not a Manchurian Candidate, but I do have amazing staff, and in no part thanks to the fact that we pay a living wage in our office,” she said.

"So far two of my staffers have been able to quit their second jobs in restaurants and be fully present at work. And so I hope it’s a lesson to the folks on the other side of the aisle that if you pay your staff, you’ll be prepared.”

A Fox News spokesman declined to provide comment on Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion that the network has fixated on her to an unusual degree.

There is some evidence that her name has circulated on Fox News more than other cable networks.

In a daily average last month, she has been talked about on Fox News 4½ times as much as on MSNBC and nine times as much as on CNN, The Post’s Philip Bump noted.

Conservative media coverage has resulted in “side effects of this Fox News lunacy,” Ocasio-Cortez said. She told Meyers a lawmaker asked her if she was paid $10 million by Netflix after it acquired rights for a documentary that involves her.

“I’m like, ‘No,’ ” she said. “ 'What else do you not know! This is concerning!’ “ It is not clear if a Fox News segment ever raised the issue of her being paid for the rights, which has been debunked.

But it’s not only men on Fox News who have zeroed on Ocasio-Cortez. On Tuesday, host Laura Ingraham ridiculed Ocasio-Cortez for the accent she uses to pronounce her own name.

That prompted conservative lawyer Joe diGenova to lay on a thickly exaggerated accent.

“She does the Latina thing where she does her, you know, ’Anastasio Ocasio-Cortez,” he said, appearing to deliberately mispronounce her name.

Perhaps that moment led other Fox News hosts to get her name right. She was discussed Friday, as she often is, on “Fox and Friends.”

Co-host Steve Doocy paused for a moment to think about it. “Alex-an-dria Oca-sio-Cor-tez,” he said.

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