Wednesday, it was cheering on College Board. Thursday, it was being painstakingly vague with reparations advocate Ta-Nehisi Coates. And on Friday, CBS Mornings again raced to the defense of woke educators as they rhetorically knelt at the altar of Nikole Hannah-Jones and marveled at her “knockout docuseries” bringing to life The 1619 Project’s “re-examin[ation of] American slavery and its impact on the systems and the policies that still shape our country today.”
CBS made no attempt to even footnote the criticism and voluminous fact-checks of Hannah-Jones’s work, including her shoddy ethics (as well as those of The Times) and that her thesis of American Revolution being waged to uphold and preserve slavery is totally false.
At the start of the second hour, socialist co-host Tony Dokoupil teased Hannah-Jones’s appearance “to tell us why it’s still got a lot to teach us about America’s past.” In another tease, co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King called the Hulu series a “knockout.”
King queued up the segment by gushing over the “landmark 1619 Project” as “aimed to re-examine American slavery and its impact on the systems and the policies that still shape our country today.”
Historian Wilfred Reilly wrote last month in National Review that it’s preposterous to assert slavery is still central to our country and that it made America successful. As he noted, ask yourself: Are “great triumphs” of this country like “NASA missions, the development of the post–World War II California economy, Chinese and Irish migration, the mass production of automobiles” occur thanks to slavery? Of course not.
Nonetheless, King swooned that the six-episode series enthralled her and the race episode in particular “because it’s such a personal project.”
After Hannah-Jones relayed a conversation with her daughter about how society has “accepted the myth of racial categorization,” Dokoupil invited her to explain how race and slavery should be taught in schools because, even though she’s not a historian, “people have used your work in schools.”
Hannah-Jones replied that she started speaking to her daughter about race at age three because “I felt...I needed to prepare her for the world and teach her this history before she learned it in school so that I could be shaping her understanding of her world and her place in it”.
How ironic that she would make such a conservative argument when it’s her ilk that scoff and dismiss right-leaning parents who have that same concern (seeing as how books like hers seek to smear America).
Like Coates, Hannah-Jones had some esoteric points that seem benign, such as this one: “History is complicated. Men can do great things as our Founders did, and they can do really terrible things.”
Fill-in co-host David Begnaud gushed that, “as I watched it last night, it felt like an education to me.”
“But then I thought about where I grew up in Louisiana and there are people I love, people who I’m related to who might watch that and say this is making me feel bad about being white. What do you say to people who think that,” he asked.
His family members would be well-founded in having that concern as, among other reason, the original work asserted that white people collectively benefitted from slavery (and thus their ancestors still do).
Hannah-Jones replied with more lies, claiming “slavery is shaping all of our lives no matter our race” and while “[n]othing in this documentary should make someone feel individually bad, but I think it’s okay for us to have a collective shame about this part of our history.”
“For us to say we did some terrible things as a country because when you own that, then you try to do something better, right? You try to address this past. So, nothing about this documentary is about putting individual blame on people for things that they haven’t personally done,” she added, despite the fact that she behaves as though the successes and failures of the various ethnicities and skin colors is tied to white people having slaves.
She then demanded that those who want to believe “the American revolution was fought for these great ideals, that the declaration is one of the most important documents in the world, then you also have to take on the fact that the man who wrote that enslaved human beings.”
That sounds fair, but that masked her inaccuracies. Along with the fact that natural rights were in the founding documents, she conveniently ignored how the Founders hated slavery (including John Adams) and some New England states were working to eradicate it. Oh, and her plank about capitalism being racist? That’s also bunk.
King swooned that she predicts “people will get something out of every episode” and “learn something honestly,” but the Democratic donor ignored the fact that the show is riddled with errors (see here and here)
Hannah-Jones offered a milquetoast answer saying that “what I people will take away is that this past, this legacy of slavery, which is a foundational American institution, it’s shaping our society whether we acknowledge it or not” and slavery is “shaping our present.”
To not do that, she argued, would be further proof of a “polarized” country that hasn’t properly “dealt with” her so-called thesis.
Perhaps the most odious of her claims that America was founded on slavery is false along with the insinuation slavery was somehow unique. Dan McLaughlin and historian Gordon Wood have masterfully addressed this with McLaughlin noting 90 percent of the slave trade took place outside the U.S.
As we said two years ago, we could go on, but it would be to only overexert our word count and embarrass this racial arsonist.
This third day of woke history and a lack of fact-checking was made possible thanks to the assistance of advertisers such as ADT and Honda. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant transcript from February 3, click “expand.”
February 3, 2023
8:00 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The 1619 Project]
TONY DOKOUPIL: And Nikole Hannah-Jones. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning series, The 1619 Project, is now a documentary series and she’s going to tell us why it’s still got a lot to teach us about America’s past.
8:09 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “The 1619 Project”]
GAYLE KING: Coming up, The 1619 Project, you know it, Nikole Hannah Jones led The New York Times effort to tell the revised story of this country’s origins. Guess what? She’s in our Progressive green room — hello, Nikole Hannah-Jones — to tell us about the new, knockout docuseries based on the project.
8:16 a.m. Eastern
KING: Our next guest is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah Jones, thank you very much. She covers civil rights and racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. Her landmark 1619 Project aimed to re-examine American slavery and its impact on the systems and the policies that still shape our country today. She’s now expanding that into a new six-part docuseries — it’s on Hulu — called The 1619 Project. Nikole Hannah Jones is host and executive producer. Now, this clip is from episode number three. It examines the history of blackface.
[1619 PROJECT CLIP]
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: 1619 Project: The Series; Nikole Hannah-Jones on Turning Landmark Journalism into TV]
KING: Nikole Hannah Jones joins us at the table. That’s — Hannah Nikole, really good to have you here. That’s from episode three, music. You’ve got six categories, democracy, race, music, capitalism, fear, and justice. I want to start with episode number two about race because that was so fascinating to me because it’s such a personal project. You are biracial. You talk about having a white mother and a black father. What got me is a conversation you had with your daughter who is also very curious about questions about her own background. Can you just share that conversation that you had with your daughter?
NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES: Sure, thank you so much for having me on to talk about the documentary series. So you know, that conversation really tries to get at — we — we all hear that race is a political or a social construct, but we kind of believe that it’s a real thing.
HANNAH-JONES: So my — we’ve accepted the myth of racial categorization. So, my daughter, my mother is white, my daughter is the same complexion as I am, and we tell kids that race is about your skin color. Well, she’s looking at our skin color, and she’s like, well, if your mom is white and our skin looks like hers, why aren’t we white? And I’m like we’re just not because my dad is black and that makes me black. And she’s like, well, why?
HANNAH-JONES: Even someone who studies race for a living, it’s a hard answer to explain to a child.
KING: I mean, you actually said —
HANNAH-JONES: Because there is no real reason except we have a society that says that that’s so.
KING: — you actually said I don’t know —
KING: — because you said your own father told you you can never be white, that you will always be black.
HANNAH-JONES: That’s right.
KING: He said that since you were a little kid.
HANNAH-JONES: Yeah, so when my sisters and I were growing up, my father wanted it to be clear, your mother is white. Half of your family is white, but you won’t go in the world and be treated like you’re white. You’ll be treated like a black child, and that’s what you are. And, of course, this is the lesson that I then have to pass on to my own child because what he was doing is preparing us for the world that we were going to live in.
DOKOUPIL: When — when your daughter is taught about history and about race and about slavery in school, how do you want her to be taught the subject and you are part of that conversation because people have used your work in schools and, as a country, we’re trying to wrestle with how do we talk about the ugliness, honestly, confront in reality and not deepen these myths of racial categorization that you point out?
HANNAH-JONES: Yes, so as you can imagine, in my household we’ve talked about these things for a very long time. My daughter had her first book on slavery when she was three years old —
DAVID BEGNAUD: Hmmm.
HANNAH-JONES: — because I felt as a parent that I needed to prepare her for the world and teach her this history before she learned it in school so that I could be shaping her understanding of her world and her place in it, and the thing is our children are going into a world that’s already sending them messages about race —
HANNAH-JONES: — and so we think we might be protecting them by not teaching them this history, but actually, we’re not because they’re getting those messages and they don’t have no explanation for why their world looks like it looks, right? We live in a black neighborhood. My daughter goes to a black school. She sees how housing is different depending on who lives in the neighborhood. She’s being treated a certain way when she goes out into the public. So, to me, our job as both parents and educators is to try to be truthful. History is complicated. Men can do great things as our Founders did, and they can do really terrible things.
KING: Both can be true.
HANNAH-JONES: Both are true.
KING: Both are true, yes.
HANNAH-JONES: And children actually get that. They understand it.
BEGNAUD: Nikole, as I watched it last night, it felt like an education to me. But then I thought about where I grew up in Louisiana and there are people I love, people who I’m related to who might watch that and say this is making me feel bad about being white. What do you say to people who think that?
HANNAH-JONES: Well, one, what I hope people take away from the documentary is the legacy of slavery is shaping all of our lives no matter our race, right? The capitalism episode shows how there are millions of white workers also struggling to pay their bills because of an economy built on the exploitation of labor. Nothing in this documentary should make someone feel individually bad, but I think it’s okay for us to have a collective shame about this part of our history. For us to say we did some terrible things as a country because when you own that, then you try to do something better, right? You try to address this past. So, nothing about this documentary is about putting individual blame on people for things that they haven’t personally done —
HANNAH-JONES: — but it certainly is saying if you want to collectively take on the idea that the American revolution was fought for these great ideals, that the declaration is one of the most important documents in the world, then you also have to take on the fact that the man who wrote that enslaved human beings. We have to own all of our history, not just the parts that make us feel good.
KING: Yeah. I think people will get something out of every episode. You learn something honestly from every single episode. What do you hope people will come away with when they watch it, black and white? Cause they might not have read the book, they might not have The New York [Times] Magazine that I still have, but they will watch this. What do you want them to take away with — from it?
HANNAH-JONES: What I hope people will take away is that this past, this legacy of slavery, which is a foundational American institution, it’s shaping our society whether we acknowledge it or not. People will learn so many new things —
HANNAH-JONES: — in every episode, but also see how that past is shaping our present. So, to me, we can try to hide from it as we have, but we have a country that is very polarized because we haven’t dealt with it.
KING: Alright, Nikole Hannah-Jones, bravo to you, again. New episodes of The 1619 Project are available Thursdays on Hulu. We’ll be right back.