There are a lot of lies, factual errors, misrepresentations, selective history and general nonsense in the New York Times’ 1619 project that are worthy of rejection.
According to the Times: “The goal of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The New York Times that this issue of the magazine inaugurates, is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year. Doing so requires us to place the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.”
It is worth rejecting that slavery should be placed “at the very center” of our history. Was it a large and terrible part? Yes. It caused misery culminating in a bloody Civil War and its legacy endured through Jim Crow. But at the very center? Not the religious freedom that brought the first Pilgrims in Massachusetts? Not the idea of an upside down government that dethroned the king and put the people on the top and the government subservient (“for the people and by the people”?) That was a first in history, while slavery was a universal part of world history on every continent and among every race — both enslaving and being enslaved.
On the cover the 1619 Project, overlaying on a full-page black and white picture of a very dark ocean, are these words:
“In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.”
Picking 1619 is the worst of “journalistic” cherry-picking. There was no America until 1776. Before that, Florida and other South and Southwestern areas were variously Spanish colonies, or French colonies, and finally most were British colonies — all before the American Revolution created the new nation. Slavery ran most of its life in North America when we were all British subjects, or Spanish and French subjects.
This is crucial, because all of these nations — and all of the rest of the world — were practicing slavery at this time and had from time immemorial. Slavery was part of the Asian world, a large part of the Muslim world, practiced throughout Central and South America even before the first Conquistadors arrived, and importantly for our discussion, rampant through Africa by other Africans.
Most of the slaves transported to America were not captured by white slavers as depicted in the movie Roots. That happened, but the majority were simply bought from Africans who had enslaved nearby tribes they had conquered. It was a facet of Africa like it was the rest of the world, and to call it a uniquely American evil is factually wrong and dishonest. It was — and still is — a worldwide evil.
Slavery in the United States of America ran 87 years from 1776-1863. Or in President Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, “Four score and seven years ago…” Just a fact, something journalists used to care about.
A common lie told today by leftists, and it is repeated in the Time’s 1619 Project by several of the writers, is that the “white men” who created the Constitution, did not see black people as fully human and not worthy of rights. This is also factually wrong. The northern colonies were packed with abolitionists — white people — who argued that this was the moment to end the atrocity of slavery, at the outset of the new nation. But there were other white people in the southern colonies, slave holders, who would not agree to form a single country to fight for freedom from British rule if emancipation were included.
It’s possible that the majority of the framers preferred to free blacks and give them rights in the newly formed country. But freedom could not be won unless all the colonies were bound together against the greatest empire on earth at the time. So the painful compromise was made to win freedom from Britain. And then, within a few generations, a bloody Civil War was fought almost entirely by white people to free the slaves. (About 90 percent of Union troops were white.)
The Times ignores this and misrepresents world history, our history and the founders and framers, by saying all of the framers saw blacks as subhuman. The publication is intent on doing this because as modern leftists they have an almost instinctive antipathy toward America and the very idea of American greatness. But more relevant to the moment, they are doing this literally to help beat Donald Trump and Republicans in 2020.
It does not require any special analytical abilities to deduce this. Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet essentially says so.
A recording of a full Times staff meeting was leaked to Slate last week, which then published a transcript of it. Baquet held this staff meeting two weeks ago to explain a coming change in coverage after the collapse of the Trump-Russia narrative.
“Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.”
Pulitzers are award by like-minded leftists. Only one type of story wins those. But despite two years and virtually unlimited legal and financial resources, Mueller failed to establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election. Which essentially means those years of reporting got it wrong. But Pulitzers.
Baquet went on, and this really pulls the veil back:
“The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?”
But Pulitzers — unless of course they were just political accolades by fellow travelers and not about actual journalism.
Baquet: “We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well…Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”
That is, a different angle of attack on President Trump, since Trump-Russia it turns out was never really a story. The real story the Times will not tell is how we got a two-year special counsel investigation of an event that did not happen. Baquet, not knowing this would become public of course, just puts it out there openly.
“I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump?”
Divided by Trump. Amazing. Baquet said the Times must “write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions.”
And there it is. The 1619 Project.
“It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
“Reframing” history is just a deceptive way of saying “rewrite” history. And there is no conceivable way this does not inflame racial tensions and make us more divided. And understand, most news outlets across the country take their cue on story importance and framing from the New York Times.
The first lines of the massive project let it all hang out.
“Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true…”
No. Another premise to reject that just flat wrong. Blacks did indeed fight to earn their claim to them, as did whites. But the ideals were true and right — changing support for values does not in any way alter the moral standing of the values themselves. That would be self-evident to a non propagandist. Those ideas simply were imperfectly implemented, as mentioned above.
Our nation’s story actually is one of consistently moving closer to those ideals, striving through emancipation in the 19th century to the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century. Blacks have been fully equal to whites under the law in this country for 50 years.
But the Times will never tell that story.
Baquet told his staff that over the next two years, the Times will “teach” its readers to see race everywhere, to view every issue through race. Stories will strive to “reframe” each issue through the lense of race. The next two years just coincidentally happen to cover the entire presidential election cycle.
And that brings us to the final premise to reject: That the New York Times is a news organization. It is not. And it has not been for a long while. But it took its own mask off now. It is virtually self-described now as an anti-American, leftist, Democratic propaganda outlet — with some news stories sprinkled in.
No independent-minded person should think otherwise.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.