Conservative media folks like to talk a lot about "Trump Derangement Syndrome," which as Psychology Today explained, is the notion that "the everyday activities of President Trump trigger some people into distorted opinions, extreme emotions and hysterical behaviors." (They note that it is not an official diagnosis or mental condition, so thanks for that.) Within conservative media, there is a parallel phenomenon occurring: AOC Derangement Syndrome, in which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's mastery of social media, natural charisma, and political progressivism inspires impotent rage from right wing media figures.
Such is the situation for the shadowy conservative group Job Creators Network: earlier this week, they erected a billboard in Times Square sarcastically thanking AOC for tanking the Amazon deal she had nothing to do with. AOC was unfazed by the attack, and as is her wont, tweeted back at the group for their "wack" billboard: "Billionaires paying to put up anti-progressive propaganda in Times Square is like the obscenely rich version of the scene where Michael Scott points to the Bubba Gump and saying 'This is it, this is the heart of civilization, right here.' 😂" she tweeted.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 20, 2019
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 21, 2019
Normally in this situation, a group like this might cut their losses and move on to influencing elections, or gerrymandering, or advocating for billionaire rights—but because AOC was involved, they clearly felt a pressing need to respond. But not with a tweet or a press release or any sort of normal means of communication in the 21st century, but rather by paying to put up TWO more billboards in Times Square at the intersection of 7th Avenue and 42nd Street.
As you can see up above, the first one states, "Hey AOC, Saw your wack tweet," which is unbelievably dumb since AOC will never actually see it in person as it will only be up for a week and she lives in D.C., and also who the fuck goes to Times Square unless they absolutely have to, and even if they do, what kind of New Yorker is walking around with their head tilted toward the sky in order to better absorb all those sweet giant Coca-Cola messages? But I digress: the second billboard underneath claims that while the billboards only cost $4K each (which, honestly, is somewhat hard to believe), AOC allegedly cost the city over $4 billion in annual wages.
"She can call us out all she wants about how we spend our money, but it’s clear that most people care more about how she spends theirs," said Alfredo Ortiz, JCN President and CEO, in a statement.
Setting aside the fact that AOC had no oversight role whatsoever on the Amazon deal, as she doesn't even represent the district in Long Island City where Amazon was landing, it's important to note that this narrative that any single politician or progressive activism stopped the richest man on earth from doing business in NYC is patently false. Much of the criticism directed at the proposed Queens campus wasn't anti-business, it was directed at the terms of a deal that was seen by some as overly generous to a trillion-dollar company, and had been negotiated behind closed doors with zero community input. When certain local officials—the most influential among them was State Senator Michael Gianaris—pushed back on the terms of the deal, Jeff Bezos just cancelled everything. It also didn't help Amazon's case that the company's reps told the New York City Council the company would not commit to labor neutrality, eliciting a "shame on you" response from Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district did include the proposed Amazon campus.
AOC hasn't tweeted in response to the latest billboards, but she did sent out a tweet to clarify about who is backing the Job Creators Network. The Mercers founded the related group, the Job Creators Alliance, which Media Matters claims is actually the same group with a slight name change, though others have connected the Jobs Creator Network with notorious corporate lobbyist Richard Berman, also known as "Dr. Evil."
Heads up - I’m deleting a tweet about astroturfing bc I want to make sure details are solid.
Dark $ is hard to track, & the practice of astroturfing to manipulate public opinion is notorious. Want to make sure any comments about it are thorough. Quote tweet will be RT’d ✌🏽
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 22, 2019
Who's behind the dark money group bashing @AOC in Times Square? Notorious astroturf firm Berman & Co got $2.5M from the org in 2017. Cavalry LLC, founded by Mitch McConnell's former chief of staff, was paid $419K https://t.co/S4WYiElETS
— Andrew Perez (@andrewperezdc) February 21, 2019
At least Democrats have moved on from Amazon onto other pressing matters...oh wait...
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Amazon's backing out of a deal to put one of its second headquarters in New York City is the "greatest tragedy" he has seen since he's been in government.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 22, 2019