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NYT Wins Pulitzer for 1619's Historical Farce

The racial revisionism of the Times's 1619 Project gets far too many accolades.

Lewis Morris · May 5, 2020

Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary Monday for being the top mind behind the paper’s ugly revisionist history of America, the 1619 Project. This collection of essays about the (alleged) African American experience in America attempts to paint a picture of a nation founded on slavery and dominated by racism to this day. The widely disputed farce erroneously reframes the American Revolution as a battle not to defend Liberty, but to defend slavery.

Obviously, like the Nobel Prize since its expedient award to Barack Obama, Pulitzers have lost their luster. They’re nothing more than insider political affirmation. Thus, the Times was a shoe-in for this propaganda, not because it “adheres to the highest journalistic principles,” but because it checks all the right “social justice” boxes.

Hannah-Jones and the Times packaged the scheme as a new look at history, but it was an unabashed attempt to maliciously portray America as fundamentally racist to its core. It was drenched in leftist sentiment, proceeded from a false premise, and was riddled with historical errors. But its shortcomings didn’t matter to the paper’s editorial board — nor to the Pulitzer committee. Embracing the “woke” culture, the Times cast journalistic ethics to the wayside in favor of pushing its leftist political agenda. The 1619 Project perpetuates a culture of victimhood in the African American community by claiming that life for blacks in America is still predetermined by slavery and Jim Crow.

The project has been subject to protests from many respected historians from all areas of academia, including a rebuttal by numerous black scholars.

Among the plethora of historians who object to this gross historical revisionism, is Princeton’s Dr. Allen C. Guelzo, director of the university’s James Madison Program Initiative in Politics and Statesmanship. According to Guelzo: “The 1619 Project, to put it in a short compass, is an attempt to re-center our understanding of American history. What they mean by ‘re-center’ is to see the presence of slavery and race as the central narrative of American history. … What we are dealing with is historical sloppiness that pushes things to an absurd degree. … This is what happens when journalists presume on the credulity of the public because we trust what the press says. [J]ournalists sometimes think that they are writing ‘the first draft of history. And it’s no surprise that we have seen a rash of journalistic hoaxes, some of which have gone up to the level of the Pulitzer Prize.”

Guelzo says that this narrative was written because it “would be politically applauded, even if the material was, shall we say, invented.” He concludes, “But that’s not the way to do history. That’s carelessness, that’s a lack of intellectual integrity. And what is surprising about the 1619 Project is that, even after all the criticism, it’s surprising that there should even be serious consideration for a Pulitzer Prize.”

But the Gray Lady and its scribe Hannah-Jones have stood by this journalistic invention.

Likewise, Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy defended the award, insisting: “The piece provoked useful public debate and conversation about an important matter – the very identity of our nation. This is what we want commentary to do. … Although many historians, perhaps most historians, believe that the preservation of slavery was not among the primary causes of the Revolutionary War, we do not regard this as a matter of settled 'fact,’ but something still subject to scholarly debate and contestation.”

Sadly, that defense has paid off. Since the 1619 Project launch last year, thousands of public schools have included it in their curriculum, turning over children’s education to a newspaper that is run, read, and loved by the Left.

Accolades from like-minded members of the media have also been heaped on the 1619 Project. Before winning her Pulitzer, Hannah-Jones received a “special award” earlier this year at the annual George Polk Awards in Journalism.

The Polk Awards are well known within journalism circles, but basically anyone who reads knows what the Pulitzer Prize means. It’s widely accepted as the seal of approval for the published written word. Many esteemed journalists have won Pulitzers for fantastic work in the past. Unfortunately, like many intellectual institutions, the Pulitzers have been absorbed and corrupted by leftists. Pulitzer Prizes these days are frequently given to those who carry the ideological torch for identity politics, big government, the end of capitalism, and other “woke” causes. So, while it should be unbelievable that Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer, it’s totally believable.

There was a point briefly where it seemed as if the Times might finally buckle under the weight of criticism over its historical fiction. Now, that will never happen with a Pulitzer on the shelf. In fact, schools will feel vindicated in choosing to embrace the Times’s disinformation scheme, and the editorial team behind the whole farce will double down on intellectual dishonesty.

With the 1619 Project, The New York Times has once again pitched aside journalistic integrity and honesty, choosing to go a blatantly partisan route. The worst part is that the paper is still trying to convince us that this is journalism. Well, journalism isn’t what it used to be. And apparently, neither is the Pulitzer Prize.

(Updated)


Addendum: Even Leftist columnist Andrew Sullivan mocked the award, noting: "How many Pulitzer prizes have gone to essays that have had to subsequently publicly correct one of their core claims? Or been challenged by every major historian in the field, right and center and left?“

Addendum 2: "The white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world,” said Hannah-Jones back in 1995. In other words, she’s long held views that could, at best, be described as racial animosity and at worst straight up racism. It appears that worldview was her foundation for this historical rewrite. Big surprise.

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