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Saturday Morning Coffee Break | Main | Saturday Gardening and Puttering Thread 5/9/20 [KT]
May 09, 2020

The New York Times, Racism and a Pullet Surprise [KT]


The pun also rises -- ornithological edition

We have been doing periodic updates since the New York Times announced last August that they would be focusing on "racism" in their news coverage for the next two years, particularly as it related to Donald Trump. Closely associated with this announcement was the announcement of the debut of the historically inaccurate "1619 Project", AKA The Hate America Project.

Links to our previous posts below. It's been an interesting few months.

We have watched as the "1619 Project" came under fire for being, well, astonishingly stupid. However, this week, the Pulitzer Prize Committee beclowned itself by awarding a Pulitzer Prize to this Project. If it weren't for the fact that this "project" is being pushed in schools, we could just laugh and laugh and laugh.

Come to think of it, since the kids have school at home right now, maybe we can teach THEM to laugh a little. And to think some.

Three commentaries, courtesy of J.J. Sefton earlier this week:

Emily Jashinsky at The Federalist: A Pulitzer Prize Was Just Given To The 1619 Essay The New York Times Admitted Was Historically Inaccurate.

Nikole Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for an essay the New York Times corrected substantially after an array of respected academics disputed its grasp on history. That means the Pulitzers bizarrely rewarded inaccurate journalism with journalism's highest prize.

That Hannah-Jones's article advanced historical inaccuracies is not a matter of opinion, it was a determination made by her own publication.

They had to be dragged to that determination, though. Painfully:

Making a historically inaccurate assertion, standing by it for months, then editing the claim more than half a year later -- and conceding that change was important -- is obviously not journalism worthy of the industry's highest award in commentary writing. Although, given the industry's ongoing struggle to report factually accurate information, perhaps it's actually rather fitting.

Kind of hilarious, if you think about it.

Jason Ross at American Greatness: The Pulitzer Prize for Tabloid History:

Who is behind the Pulitzer Prize and the Pulitzer Committee? This piece gets quite substantial as you get into it:

The administrator of the Pulitzer Prize, Dana Canady, is a 20-year veteran of the Times. Times op-ed columnist Gail Collins is also a member of the Pulitzer Prize board. At least three other current members of the Pulitzer board have written for the Times.

For the Pulitzer Prize, this kind of self-dealing is par for the course. More troublesome than these shadowy backroom deals, though, is the appearance of coordination by a network of unaccountable organizations, resting on massive tax-advantaged endowments, to magnify the influence of this inaccurate and incendiary view of American history. The MacArthur Foundation gave Hannah-Jones its "genius grant" in 2017, helping her build the foundation for her project. Then the Pulitzer Center (which has no official connection to the Pulitzer Prize, which is administered by Columbia University) announced plans immediately after the publication of the 1619 Project to push its content into K-12 schools and colleges.

The success of the 1619 Project in wresting control of our historical narrative is not an accident. It is the outcome of a detailed and deliberate public relations strategy. Inquiring minds may want to know: Who is behind the unaccountable organizations driving this strategy, and why have they orchestrated an elaborate strategy to teach us to hate America? . . .

Oh, and:

In a healthy journalistic profession, inquiring minds would ask such questions, and be awarded for it. But the profession of journalism is shaped now, more than ever, by the "yellow journalism" perfected by the namesake of the profession's highest award. Indeed, even his biography on the Pulitzer Prize website admits that Joseph Pulitzer recognized "no apparent restraints on sensationalism or fabrication of news."

Might want to share the piece above with a youngster thinking about going into journalism. Have a good laugh about Joseph Pulitzer.

New York Post Editorial Board: The only Pulitzer the 1619 Project deserved was for fiction

As it was designed to do, The New York Times' woefully mistaken 1619 Project just won a Pulitzer Prize. Worse, the award for commentary actually went to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her essay introducing the series -- that is, to the article that brought the most sustained criticism from historians across the spectrum for its naked errors of fact.
Too bad the Pulitzer committee now thinks that facts are irrelevant to journalism.

Other commentary

Scott Johnson at Powerline has links to some of the challenges to the historical claims in the 1619 Project,

and this:

UPDATE: Our friend Roger Kimball writes to comment by email: "You ask which is worse, the Pulitzer Prizes of the NYT. I, too, think it doubtful that we have instruments fine enough to decide. Encounter Books is countering with a book called 1620: The True Beginning of the American Republic by Peter Wood (1620 was the date of the Mayflower compact). We are hoping to mount a big campaign for it to dislodge the mendacious 1619 Project from its place in school curricula (it's current been adopted in whole or part by 4500 schools)." Roger's New Criterion editorial on the subject is "1619 and all that."

Know any kids who need an alternative? Speaking of Peter Wood:

Peter Wood via Gail Heriot: The Collapse of the Fourth Estate

How could Hannah-Jones have gotten the facts so spectacularly wrong? There is no answer that reflects well on her. Did she know the facts and chose to suppress them to enhance the fable she was composing? Did she disregard the facts because she believed that the history as recorded was a tissue of falsehoods and that she alone had been vouchsafed a vision of what really happened? (Or she and a handful of zealous believers in Afro-centric conspiracy theories.) Or was she simply ignorant of the facts, having paid little or no attention to both the documentary record and the syntheses of historians who have spent their careers examining that record? Our choices seem to be liar, lunatic, or hustler. I don't know Hannah-Jones and can offer no judgment, but I am hard-pressed to imagine a fourth, more honorable alternative.

I can't, but the Pulitzer Committee can. In bestowing the award, the Pulitzer Committee declared:

For a sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay for the ground-breaking 1619 Project, which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America's story, prompting public conversation about the nation's founding and evolution.

Award citations are usually composed very carefully, both in what they say and what they avoid saying. This one repays close attention.

Peter Wood teaches us how to pay close attention.

He rips up both the 1619 Project and the Pulitzer Committee. Wow.

Neo: The greatest Pulitzer since Duranty

From back in April, a podcast at The American Mind "exposing" the 1619 Project. Lots of contributors. The Pulitzer Committee paid no attention.

The Pulitzer Prize is just stupid, in general

On May 7, Ace reported on some of Trump's reactions concerning the DOJ dropping the Flynn Case. Among other things, he suggested that reporters who got Pulitzer Prizes for pushing the hoax should be forced to give them back.

How about the New York Times give back the Walter Duranty Pulitzer, too?

Or how about we just eliminate the Pulitzer Prize?

From The Federalist: The 1619 Project's Pulitzer gives schools one more excuse to teach kids to hate America.

Our Previous Posts triggered by the NYT's August Meeting:

March 7: Is this the end of journalism? A member of the NYT Editorial Board who pushed the 1619 project has done some other embarrassing things in the media. Has this affected the quality of media more generally?

January 18: Media Racism Update, contrasting the efforts of the Democrats to paint themselves as champions of the Constitution with the attacks on the Constitution in the NYT's 1619 Project. More on the 1619 Project's historical errors. Similarity to the communist goal of destroying memory.

Plus an interesting suggestion that it should be illegal to vote for Trump because he is racism personified. Uh-huh.

November 2: What would Frederick Douglass think? The 1619 Project wasn't much interested in Douglass. Reviews of the 1619 Project.

Also, Race-based lunacy in education NOT based in the 1619 Project. Western medicine is colonialism. Discussion of racial preferences in government.

September 28: September Racism and Slavery Update, with analyses of the emerging, ahistorical 1619 Project. Note: Captain John Smith was once a slave.

Plus an effort to pin a racism charge on a Trump appointee.

August 31: Dean Baquet's emergency meeting with his radical staff at the New York Times. This was where the editorial decision to focus on Donald Trump's racism was articulated. Oh. And then there was the 1619 Project.


How to dance to the Chicken Reel if you don't have enough people to do a Reel:

How to do the Chicken Dance:

Note: This is the Thread before the Gardening Thread.

Serving your mid-day open thread needs

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