First things first: That photo of a bunch of high school boys kissing, “choking,” and giving the thumbs-down to a cardboard standup of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was stupid and unhelpful, and of course she made an issue of it.

Team Mitch responded, noting that the boys were high schoolers, not campaign staff, and adding, “Team Mitch in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning act toward life-sized cardboard cutouts of any gender.”

Even though Team Mitch’s statement was printed in plain English, The Daily Beast interpreted it this way:

What? One more time? “Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager essentially says boys will be boys?” Where is that in the statement? Why not quote it instead of making stuff up and saying it’s “essentially” what he said?

And of course, Ocasio-Cortez was all over that too.

So The Daily Beast fabricates a quote, Ocasio-Cortez quotes it verbatim and then uses it to grandstand about the Violence Against Women Act.

Again, the photo was stupid, but to draw a line from that through the McConnell campaign’s response to the Violence Against Women Act is utterly disingenuous.

… with an assist from the media, of course.

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And now Newsweek is reporting on the McConnell campaign’s nonexistent “boys will be boys” defense, apparently using Ocasio-Cortez’ tweet as their source. So now we’re one step further removed from reality, despite the statement existing in print for anyone to read.

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And the New York Daily News:

They literally did not say that. But gotta protect the narrative.