Although this latest embarrassment is perfectly representative of Hannah-Jones’s mendacity, viciousness, as well as the liability she is to the Times, it’s far from the only example.
Last year, Hannah-Jones helped the mob that chased Times opinion editor James Bennet out of the paper after he published an op-ed from Arkansas senator Tom Cotton arguing that the National Guard should be mobilized to deal with violent riots across the country. “As a black woman, as a journalist, as an American, I am deeply ashamed that we ran this,” she tweeted. The Times rolled right over, adding a preamble to Cotton’s piece asserting that “the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published” and showing Bennet the door.
Hannah-Jones’s inability to handle criticism of the 1619 Project has been another source of embarrassment for the Times, or at least it should be. Hannah-Jones’s Pulitzer Prize-winning lead essay for it had to be modified so as to at least qualify her outlandish claim that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery in North America. Moreover, she has oscillated between making the argument that America’s founding should be seen as having occurred in 1619 rather than 1776, and insisting “the #1619 Project does not argue that 1619 was our true founding.” As historian Phillip W. Magness documented in an article for Quillette, both Hannah-Jones and her employer repeatedly called 1619 America’s “true founding” when the project was first rolled out. But after the claim came under scrutiny, the Times wiped out any record of its having been made, while Hannah-Jones simply flat-out denied having made it. Poetically, Hannah-Jones responded to the controversy by accusing critics of her work of trying to “cover up” history.