In August, The New York Times Magazine is publishing a series of essays that detail the ways the “legacy of slavery continues to shape our country” to mark the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. Conservative media personalities are reacting to “The 1619 Project” with defensive anger, insisting that the Times is seeking to deceive and divide the public.
The 1619 Project, headed by New York Times Magazine domestic correspondent Nikole-Hannah Jones, seeks 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.” In addition to publishing a series of essays, the Times also partnered with the Pulitzer Center to create a curriculum for teachers to use in school to address the way that the history and impact of slavery have been taught in America..
Conservatives have responded defensively, with some insisting that the project is a “lie” seeking to “divide” and “delegitimize America.” Others have asserted that contributors to the project “profit from seeing things through racial lenses.” Some have even connected the project to President Donald Trump, asserting that the Times is trying to undermine Trump’s presidency.
Right-wing media attack The 1619 Project
Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich tweeted, “The NY Times 1619 Project should make its slogan ‘All the Propaganda we want to brainwash you with.’” He also claimed that “the left doesn’t get it,” asserting that while “slavery was AND IS terrible, … insisting that slavery is THE defining reality of America is simply factually wrong.”
The next day, Gingrich went on Fox & Friends to complain that the project is a “lie,” insisting that it ignores that “several hundred thousand white Americans who died in the Civil War in order to free the slaves.” He also claimed that the project is ultimately about undermining Trump, instead directed focus to the sacrifices made by white Americans during the Civil War..
The Resurgent’s Erick Erickson claimed that the 1619 Project was written by people “who profit from seeing things through racial lenses and keeping racial tension aflame.” He also complained that the project “minimizes or undermines the cost white people paid to free slaves.”
Fox News host Jesse Watters mocked a Times video explaining that an aspect of society as ubiquitous as lawns also has a history tied to slavery, saying, “I guess when my dad made me mow his lawn, I was his slave.”
Conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich compared the Times to a “propaganda arm of Stalin.”
Conservative media personality Jeff Giesea said that he 1619 Project “reads like Soviet-era propaganda.” He added, “The spirit behind the NYT’s editorial direction comes across as fundamentally anti-American and only fuels our divisions and discord.”
Byron York, Fox News contributor and chief political contributor of the Washington Examiner, wrote an opinion piece for the Examiner titled “New goal for New York Times: 'Reframe’ American history, and target Trump, too.”
The Federalist’s Benjamin Weingarten asserted that the “purpose” of the 1619 Project is to “delegitimize America, and further divide and demoralize its citizenry.”
Conservative media personality Stephen Miller mocked the project, saying that he is “getting ‘1619’ tattooed [on] my throat” to “remind me every day when I look in the mirror how horrible I am.”
In a lengthy tweet thread, the CATO Institute's Timothy Sandefur asserted that while “slavery really does touch everything in American history,” it is not “the foundation on which this country is built.” Sandefur insisted that saying so is a “smear on the American dream.” He added that “understanding slavery’s legacy is crucial,” but calling it the “‘foundation’ of America is factually false & a slur on the memories of countless Americans of all races who’ve given their lives … to a nation they rightly believed is founded on freedom for all.”
Anti-Trump Republican Bill Kristol shared Sandefur’s tweet, adding, “This is a good thread.”
The Federalist’s Ben Domenech tweeted key claims from the 1619 Project, simply concluding, “No.”
The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra called America “the least racist country on the planet,” suggesting that the project is irrelevant because the Times “said not to worry about Hitler's anti-Semitism” and “buried the Holocaust.”