The 1619 Project Fails Traditional Standards of Journalism Ethics

The New York Times recently assured us that The 1619 Project meets its highest standards of journalism.

But, like much about the series itself, that statement is subject to dispute.

The Times 8/14/19 series on the first black “slaves” to arrive in America in 1619 violates at least two of central tenets of the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists.


The SPJ code tells journalists to:

 Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it.

Project Editor Nikole Hannah Jones introductory essay stated “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.”

Five of America’s most distinguished historians, including two Pulitzer Prize winners, complained in December the statement was “not true.” Moreover, they wrote, “Some of the other material in the project is distorted, including the claim that ‘for the most part,’ black Americans have fought their freedom struggles ‘alone.’ They also complained the series misrepresents President Abraham Lincoln.

NYT Magazine Editor Jake Silverstein on 12/20/19 rejected the historians’ criticism, insisting the statement was correct and grounded in historical record. The NYT refused to write a correction.

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Disruption To Workplace Trumps Worker’s Free Speech Right

A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a 9-1-1 dispatcher who repeated a racial slur in a social media post celebrating the 2016 election of GOP President Donald Trump.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, OH, concluded the lower court judge gave too much weight to the dispatcher’s right to free speech and too little to the disruptive impact of her speech on her workplace.

Following a trial, a jury awarded the plaintiff, Danyelle E. Bennett, $6,500 in back pay and $18,750 for humiliation and embarrassment stemming from the incident.

Bennett was fired from her job after 16 years as a Nashville, TN, Metro 9-1-1 dispatcher after making an off-duty social media post from her home to her personal Facebook page. Bennett posted an electoral map showing Trump’s victory at 3 a.m. on election night.

Shortly thereafter, a man she did not know, Mohamed Aboulmaouahib, replied, “Redneck states for Trump, n****z and latinos states vote for hillary.” Bennett responded: “Thank god we have more America loving rednecks … Even n****z and latinos voted for Trump too.”

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