The creator of The 1619 Project has said that “all journalism is activism,” defending her controversial reinterpretation of American history.
Nikole Hannah-Jones was asked Saturday by CBS News about her work for The New York Times Magazine, and in particular the opposition to The 1619 Project.
The 1619 project was launched in August 2019 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans to arrive in colonial Virginia. It won Hannah-Jones a Pulitzer, but critics say it is full of historical inaccuracies and portrays the US as fundamentally racist.
Hannah-Jones said she was proud of the impact her work had.
“All journalism is activism,” she said.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, journalist at The New York Times Magazine and creator of The 1619 Project – which won her a Pulitzer – has argued that ‘all journalism is activism’
Hannah-Jones works at The New York Times, which faces questions about her left-wing stance
“If you look at the Washington Post model, right? ‘Democracy dies in darkness’, that is not a neutral position.
‘But our reporting method must be objective.
Bari Weiss, who left The New York Times last year, described the journalists at the paper as “activists”
“We must try to be fair and accurate. And I don’t know how you can be honest and accurate if you’re publicly pretending you don’t have feelings for something you’re obviously doing.”
Hannah-Jones’s comments came when The New York Times was questioned about her own left-wing stance.
Bari Weiss, a former writer at the paper, described the staff last month as “activist journalists who treat the newspaper like a high school cafeteria.”
Weiss said the paper fueled “anger, polarization, mistrust,” which betrayed its values.
She resigned from the newspaper in 2020 with a letter explaining bullying in an ‘illiberal environment’.
In recent days, Hannah-Jones has come under fire after comments she made in 2019 about Cuba as one of the “most equal” countries in the world, because of its socialist government, resurfaced online.
Hannah-Jones, pictured during Saturday’s interview with CBS, defended her work against criticism that it was not objective
How the battle for the appointment of the founder of the 1619 project unfolded?
August 2019 – The New York Times begins its 1619 project that aims to “reframe the country’s history” about slavery, but is criticized for historical inaccuracies and generalizations
may 2020 – Nikole Hannah-Jones receives the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her introductory essay to the project
Summer 2020 – UNC considers hiring Hannah-Jones in the journalism faculty.
Dec 2020 – In an email from Arkansas newspaper publisher Walter Hussman – a top donor to UNC – his fears that Hannah-Jones was “trying to push an agenda” through the 1619 project, and that “they will assume they have historical facts to to support it.’
April 2021 – UNC announces that Hannah-Jones will join the school of journalism faculty as Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism, traditionally a tenured professorship.
May 2021 – After criticizing the appointment, UNC is turning around and saying she will instead take the position on a five-year contract. This has sparked a deluge of criticism, including from black students who claimed they had been neglected.
June 30, 2021 – The trustees finally approved the term of office last week, voting 9-4 to accept her application at a special closed-session meeting that was invaded by her supporters, sparking an ugly brawl.
July 6, 2021 – Hannah-Jones announces that she has turned down the tenure offer and will instead attend Howard University.
Hannah-Jones appeared on a podcast with Ezra Klein of Vox and The New York Times in 2019 and was asked for her opinion on places in the world that had a “viable and sufficiently ambitious integration agenda.”
She replied that she thought Cuba was one of the most “equal” and “multiracial” countries in the Western Hemisphere because of its socialist society.
“The most equal multiracial country in our hemisphere would be Cuba,” she said.
Her comments were drawn back into the spotlight this weekend as Cuba is ravaged by protests against its communist regime, with activists crying for freedom and expressing their anger at rising prices, shortages of goods and poor health care amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Critics who took to social media criticized Hannah-Jones for her alleged ignorance of the island nation’s state.
Last week, Hannah-Jones announced that she had turned down the University of North Carolina’s tenure offer as a journalism lecturer and would instead attend Howard University.
UNC had initially offered Hannah-Jones the role of Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at their Hussman School of Journalism – a role that has been tenured since 1980.
But they later withdrew from the offer of a life term after being criticized for her appointment, and she was offered a five-year contract after officials said they were concerned about her lack of a “traditional academic background.”
Hannah-Jones noted the influence of a “powerful donor” on UNC, referring to Arkansas newspaper publisher Walter Hussman, who revealed that he had emailed university leaders calling The 1619 Project on the legacy of American slavery “highly controversial and highly controversial.” controversial’ before the trial was halted.
But the decision not to give Hannah-Jones tenure sparked even more outrage from the left, prompting UNC to make a second u-turn last week and decide to approve her term in office.
They voted 9-4 to accept her application at a special closed-session meeting that was invaded by her supporters, sparking an ugly brawl.
But Hannah-Jones has now declined to take up the offer.
She has instead decided to accept the position of Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at Howard, a historically black school in Washington, D.C.
Hannah-Jones announced Tuesday that she will join the historically black university (pictured) Cathy Hughes School of Communication
A week ago, trustees at UNC-Chapel Hill approved Hannah-Jones’s tenure, capping weeks of tension that began when a board member dropped the process over concerns about her teaching credentials because she didn’t come from a “traditional academic background.”