Forget printing all the news that’s fit to print, the famous motto of the New York Times.
Now, the newspaper has a project to “reframe” American history.
The Times has developed something called the 1619 Project and it is nothing less than an attempt to radically alter the way we perceive our history.
1619 is the year the first slaves came to the Jamestown colony. It is also the year the first representative assembly in America, the House of Burgesses, held its first session in Jamestown.
Here are two strains of American history, one dark, and one a beacon of light, one representative government and the other slavery. You might say that representative government, and the ideal of freedom it embodies, ultimately won and ended the stain of slavery.
But that it not how the Times sees it. Only slavery matters. The Times explains:
[The project] aims to reframe the country's history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
The editors could not be clearer—or less modest about what they seek to do:
"The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history."
The basic thrust of the 1619 Project is that everything in American history is explained by slavery and race. The message is woven throughout the first publication of the project, an entire edition of the Times magazine. It begins with an overview of race in America — "Our democracy's founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true." — written by Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, who on Twitter uses the identity Ida Bae Wells, from the crusading late 19th-early 20th century African American journalist Ida B. Wells.
The essays go on to cover the economy ("If you want to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation."), the food we eat ("The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history as the 'white gold' that fueled slavery."), the nation's physical health ("Why doesn't the United States have universal healthcare? The answer begins with policies enacted after the Civil War."), politics ("America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others."), daily life ("What does a traffic jam in Atlanta have to do with segregation? Quite a lot."), and much more.
The Times promises more 1619 Project stories in the future, not just in the paper's news sections, but in the business, sports, travel, and other sections. The Times' popular podcast, The Daily, will also devote time to it.
I don’t know if Beto O’Rourke read the Times before tweeting this:
Our country was founded on racism—and still is racist today. In Arkansas, I said why I believe there is no denying this reality; and why it’s on all of us to change it.
This purely dark notion of American history is incredibly ignorant and it ignores the vast strides we have made in overcoming our troubled racial history. It ignores the great achievements of our country, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers.
Why would people want to imperil their lives to come to the U.S. if the left’s dark assessment of our history is all there is?
One other thing remains to be said about the Times. The now famous leaked transcript of a staff meeting has Times Editor Dean Bacquet saying that the newsroom had been “built” around covering the Russia collusion story. But the Mueller Report did not find collusion and not the paper must gear up for a new story: President Trump’s alleged racism.
Call it the 2020 Project.