Guest Deez: everybody's talking about The 1619 Project

Got a lil’ treat for you this week in the form of a **Guest Deez** by the excellent Karen K. Ho (read our interview with her from earlier this year here!). We’ll top our emails later this week with our usual links, but today you should just dive into this writeup on the NYT project everyone’s discussing today, the better to catch up with that water cooler talk!


~Welcome to Seriously?, the mini-section within Deez Links in which markup enthusiast Karen K. Ho questions things that happened in the media, and why people should think about it a little more.~

Today's topic is The 1619 Project from The New York Times, conceived and led by Genius Award-winner Nikole Hannah-Jones since January. Printed in a special section of the paper and special issue of the Sunday Magazine, the project is a comprehensive examination of how slavery in the United States started in the title year, its horrific details, and how its legacy continues to be a major influence and part of daily American life in the present. Contributors include several Pulitzer Prize winners, Black American luminaries like Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins, and a majority Black production staff. There's also educational curriculum developed with the Pulitzer Center

Fans of the project include Oprah, Ava Duvernay, and Kamala Harris. However, several conservative white men then tweeted out questionable opinions.

Newt Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House who has a Ph.D. in modern European history from Tulane University, called the project "propaganda.” Just before 1 a.m., he called it "great" but then added "Insisting that slavery is THE defining reality of America is simply factually wrong." 

Erick Erickson was super close to realizing a very important insight about the prevalence of racism in American life and institutions over the past four centuries, but then a few hours later tweeted the newspaper "minimizes or undermines the cost white people paid to free slaves." 

Federalist senior contributor Benjamin Weingarten said "Contrary to its stated goals, it appears the purpose of the 1619 Project is to delegitimize America, and further divide and demoralize its citizenry." He had previously tweeted "Free speech matters. The right to offend matters. Western civilization and its Liberal Judeo-Christian heritage matters. #Copenhagen"

As always, Deez Links encourages you to read what you are criticizing, especially something with the backing of one of the largest news organizations in the world, before chiming in. But we all know how often white men get to do this with few negative consequences.

Other questionable things:

  • A front page New York Times story on Stephen Miller called him "a young firebrand". The balding presidential staffer will be 34 years old on Friday. [questioning emoji here]

  • Politico reported Mark Halperin got a book deal with Regan Arts after talking to dozens of Democratic strategists, many of whom had to issue awkward statements to CNN and The Daily Beast about their involvement. It should be noted that accusations against Halperin include him pressing his genitals on a woman's shoulder, masturbating in front of an ABC employee, grabbing another woman's breasts, and throwing another woman against a restaurant window. His former salary at Bloomberg News was estimated to be $1 million.

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