‘That the New York Times … should lead this charge is horrifying. That the errors are aimed at schoolchildren is reprehensible…’
But instead of disavowing the credibility-shattering attempt to rewrite American history, publisher A.G. Sulzberger credited the Times with starting a “dialogue.”
“So, basically the Times said it’s OK to put out misinformation as long as it spurs a discussion?” asked Christopher Arps, a member of the Project 21 black-leadership network of the National Center for Public Policy Research.
Arps posed the question during an exchange that occurred after the paper’s annual shareholder meeting.
The confrontation was prompted when Sulzberger ducked Arps’s attempt to hold the publisher accountable for the intellectual collapse of the paper’s highly-promoted educational initiative during the meeting’s formal question-and-answer period.
“The Times has finally admitted its error,” Arps said. “Will it now go back to correct the record with the vigor with which it distorted it and ensure that schools using 1619 Project materials are not teaching falsehoods?”
The 1619 Project is a revisionist history program that puts slavery at the center of the nation’s founding. It claims that American independence was born from a rejection of British abolitionist efforts, as opposed to taxation without representation in Parliament.
The Times has heavily promoted the 1619 Project as enlightened, progressive history, and it has found receptive partners in school systems and universities across the country.
Academics and historians from across the political spectrum have rejected the 1619 Project’s premise that America was founded on slavery, and the head of the project was forced to admit error. But it continues to be taught in schools.
Sulzberger responded to Arps by saying the 1619 Project has been “widely read and praised” and that “some” critics disagree with “some of the project’s conclusions.”
“One of the things that we’ve tried hard to do throughout the Project is simply to encourage dialogue between those with different perspectives,” he said.
Unsatisfied, Arps fired back: “That the New York Times, a once-great newspaper, should lead this charge is horrifying. That the errors are aimed at schoolchildren is reprehensible.”