tv Matthew Spalding Peter Wood on the 1619 Project CSPAN June 28, 2021 3:59am-5:02am EDT
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>> this notion that the country's founding days to 1619, not something 76 is not proven quite popular in the media, culture, and education. in the recent hiring of new york times reporter nicole hannah jones by the chapel hill journalism school, has no right into the national spotlight once again printed this time, the discussion of who we are as americans. when a country represents, and the principles on which our country founded and of course the roll of the faculty in board of trustees when it comes to the issue of hiring people and tenure. we've got a great panel lined up for you and hope to be able to clear up misconceptions for you and also putting perspective this very important debate going on in our country rated 20
yesterday as the ceo of the john locke foundation and been with us several times and for none of the many of you up had to meet with her in north carolina. amy cook is with us tonight under here. and jenna robinson is the president of the james center for academic renewal and there following higher education issues north carolina in their right in the center of this whole discussion in trying to clear up a false narrative about the hiring of hannah jones. and also is matthew spalding, the college buys prison he sort is the executive director of president trump advisory for the 1776 commission he'll have an update for us on the commission as well as also are panels today is peter wood it president national association of scholars an organization that is following this issue. closely and he is also done very compelling pieces about the
issue of nicole hannah jones in the hiring and 6019 project prayed and appreciate you being here i would like to start with you jenna because there is a narrative, false narrative and there's been created in national for stories. saying the nicole hannah jones was distant denied tenure. it tells will really happening. >> thank you donna. what the first we found out was april 27th. without a press release putting said that nicole hannah jones has been fired and that did not know whether they had tenure, they were very excited about it. and that point they wrote that this was a bad decision. the chaplain hill and hudson school party to an organization here in north carolina, later found out that the position of
was untenured and incorrectly assumed that was because of the criticism. and so that article went viral and national media picked up on it and said that she had tenure was revoked it was terrible. it would really happen is that when hudson school submitted information about nicole hannah jones, way back in january, the committee that sent tenure, as the journalism school some questions about nicole hannah jones experience. and they said that information is protected, the personnel information. they just continued to ask for information before making the decision and instead of going through that, the journalism school of her five-year contract
with the possibility tenure could she expected that school announced that nicole and jones would be joining their faculty, everyone at the school with an same page for she was going to be offered a five-year contract for professor of practice and is some point in the future she would be able to be offered tenure. that there has been a lot of misconceptions. donna: this misconception has really continued even though i know you've written about this jenna and about how this actually occurred in peter i know that you have risen excessive fees about this as well and you feel like the narrative the tenure is been denied it is still hanging on even know that's not true what happened. sue and i thank you so in the media because it was revoked
that is very sensational story. in those articles in major media outlets were never corrected. so if you google nicole hannah jones tenure and you get to the daily mail, on "fox news", you still going to not get the correct story. you may know correction so i think that it is still ie out there in national media. but everyone and you and see in the council and the local people, they all have this. donna: peter i know you did extensive research on this and wrote a very interesting piece on the whole question. so what is wrong with being offered a five-year contract expecting that. so like a pretty good deal to me. in other words why over the story. peter: will course the contract to someone is not really
qualified for a five-year contract is a pretty big deal especially a tenure review down the road is warranted. so there's nothing really wrong with that. the left in academia decided that this was the bill that we would place but this is not just part of the mainstream press. if you going to the normal blogs and statements coming from faculty members around the country, there really exercise by this american academic who believed wrongly that she was denied tenure actually in care that that's not the true story pretty but they really want to do is canceling it in sort of put enormous pressure that they will grant her tenure rhino so it goes away. intimate, i'm no inside
knowledge what goes on inside of the board it would be interesting to see in the pressure and the full story is that they can't do the pressure to begin with luke there was no pressure to begin with but another is enormous pressure. and this will be on whether they have the gumption to continue. sue and tonic and a seven -year-old quick. and i say this as the publisher of carolina journal and i have an undergraduate degree in journalism and masters degree in history. american history, i care about the history of journalism. to jenna's point, the false narrative that surrounds this number one, and into peter, and will help later, false narrative turns out that she had created about mark history and our families. in our talking about this person
having a five-year contract to teach journalism and yet she hasn't been helpful in trying to set an honest narrative and it also she is questionable academic work when you look at verse 1619 project. in all of this is troubling into me when i look at it, when i look at what the study of journalism in this study for academia, there's more concerned about up false narrative, there just in a frenzy over a false emily is curious about questions and nobody because this group obviously is put their very few people who sees are very curious enough to want to get to the actual truth of this. some of the local news outlets have reported the correct narrative now.
there's a whole bunch of people in academia who in journalism, for that matter there aren't curious enough or want to get to the actual truth of this false narrative that surrounds the whole hannah jones and i find that incredibly troubling. as a fatal flaw when people whose job it is to do research whether it's investigative journalism or in higher education, that's actually the job. they're not willing to do it. we have a serious problem. peter: all estimate in general point here rated tenure, is really an old idea. but this goes back to medieval
and the development of the university, the whole idea of it in academic would have this tenure, this post at a college. is the most important thing that a college can offer edit something that colleges and universities, the higher the faculty. the ticket this immensely serious as extreme hard to get. we put our, they have to have professional publications they have to be in approved teaching that have good reviews. they have to have had advanced work of their serious academic studies. since extremely serious thing. so what struck me about this and i appreciate amy and peter both looked at this case in more depth than i have. i have watched from afar. it was strikes me as health just
by its face to assume that someone comes in and immediately preceding tenure. that is just not how it works or is a of the nature of the university. in my same point, is that peter has this exactly right as often he does on these things. we should see this for what it is. the signals that this is not an active discussion at all. it actually has little to do with it actually. this is politics. this is an attempt has many things are come this most very public version of this. we seen it before that to politicize something of great importance and to the standing of colleges and universities and undermines this implication here
is that a person should receive ten years, the greatest academic in its way, the university professors they are there to receive that honor for political reasons. from what they've done to advance ideologies. i think that this case clearly signals that. i don't know the qualifications beyond the 1619 report. if that's the qualification that i would actually let the extremely noble established historians to criticize it have the last word. i don't know whether she's qualified or not. but to that one or anyone, or someone who is conservative should receive ten years because of ideological sites are having based in the moments of times in which they are debating targeted
that strikes me as deeply concerning to the academic project. hundreds and thousands of years we've tried to develop. in terms of spreading education and enlightenment. i'm befuddled by the whole thing. donna: is very interesting jenna that the board of trustees at chapel hill evidently had questions and they want to look into those things but the implication by the narratives and some of the commentary that was being asked about this is the mere fact that they have questions which as i understand it is a board of trustees job, governing board. >> such as the job, it's a fiduciary interest as board members. they must do that. it is our duty to uphold their university.
speech of thank you clarifying that matthew because the application of by some of the stories is somehow it is a problem that they are deficient in some way because they have questions. jenna: i think what's going on is the faculty at are outraged that their opinion it is not me and taken as a last. and has been accepted for many years that the trustee reveal the tenure is a rubberstamp, they take the recommendation of the faculty and do whatever the faculty as recommended. i recently sat through meeting in the faculty council at unc and most of the talk was about the process and the fact that the process is owned by the
faculty. that is their expectation in the taken is a grand insult that trustees who have no academic training and very little respect from the faculty would stick their noses into this issue. that is the attitude of faculty members not even seeing it in many places that these appointed nonacademic should just shut up. >> usually the cochair governing the faculty members, they were all they do else messing around with this. if the boards raise the money and write a check. in the faculty members it goes against the legal foundations in
the boards of trustees really does have this fiduciary responsibility. and they frequently exercise it. some of the first that this is happened. a few years ago, but once in a while these sports in these trustees break off and they say we really should take a look at something. and when that happens, often they reflect outrage. i would say to keep in mind that the faculty, not just the tenured ones requires a certain level of accomplishments and asserting commitments with the university is all about to pursue the truth. now the problem with this whole hannah jones is because she has self narrative american history. it's not just my opinion, see
opinion of every knowledgeable historian deals with the american congress. i think that is not just one or two mistakes, it's from beginning to end. and one thing, one mistake and will make them but we also have a responsibility to acknowledge a mistake and pointed out. in this case of nicole hannah jones, several mistakes were pointed out by fact checkers. reporter: she with the articles you refuse make changes then they pointed out again and again by major american historians, new york times and she just brushed it aside. into this day, their major parts of the 6019th project which are flatly false. even if you're not a historian, you're a journalist, the responsibility to tell the truth and what we have in the record in the nicole hannah jones is elise from the 16th 19 project
is someone who operates with the faxes strong opinions regardlesf what the facts are. an unreasonable way it is not a definition of scholarship. maybe in the school journalism, that could be considered in telling the truth percent fact and responding and reasonable way. they might want to change the name and no longer the school of journalism at that point or school of opinions. that's what we get. so this whole hannah jones bring several other things to the table like the 1619 project, she's one of the word a few years ago and the pulitzer prize last year. and other lesser awards in the field of journalism. i guess she's known for writing several lengthy articles new
york times and some other places pretty whether any of that is subjected to scrutiny, i don't know. and the dubious quality of the 1619 project, i would have questions about the other awards as well. if somebody gets offered in academic position, and the selection is on a scholarship, the answer is no. actually have have proven scholarships and she has none targeted so i called the trustees in north carolina to go forward at all. [inaudible]. and has some of the most popular ideology in the country. they said look who we have here. nicole hannah jones is everywhere. we are a genuine academic celebrity in the celebrity endorsement is all it university
wants to do. and this is a terrible idea and really tarnishes the reputation of the universities of north carolina. and thank god they didn't take the tenure as well. >> age on that point, this really concerns me, peter said, hit the nail on the head. the fact that this should matter. especially journalism, it's not even as if we are talking about did she get the facts correct but came to a different conclusion. were talking about literally got facts wrong. it and another who i have an enormous rent amount of respect for, and a minimum graduate school. gordon, he said there are concerning documents where she get it wrong. if you criticize our just like were saying now, if you criticize her, she considers
that races more populous but he is not getting the facts correct. and she will be teaching and journalism tool wear. we should expect that should be correct printed and if you want to be in an opinion person to come up with a different opinion, that is fine. but she is not even open to let her facts are challenge of correcting those mistakes. it is problematic. it's especially problematic for journalism when it is such a world point in american opinion anyway. i don't think somebody who does not get her facts straight and she's going to be teaching the school of journalism targeted now the whole thing, is about whether or not you tenure.
we should be looking at whether or not she even has the qualifications to teach at that level. and when facts wrong and she were teaching historical fiction, i might be something else but weird are talking about somebody teaching journalism impacts, she is proven and she's been challenged in the facts she provides are not always accurate. >> jeanette and others, would love for you to weigh in on this. what about the reputation of the journalism school itself kind of to amy's point there about if it your job to teach the next generation of journalists, when you want to be incredibly careful about the rigor in the standard of journalism axis by the people you hire and that
seems to be a real question here based on a consistent criticism by historians of the facts she is often wrong in the projects upon which she has received so many accolades. >> i think that we cannot overestimate the sickness of the university bubble. i think the people at the school that carolina were genuinely blindsided that the trustees would not think that nicole hannah jones was the best acquisition they could possibly get for the school. they are taken in by accolade and the awards that she has gone by her celebrity status and i think because they do live in a university bubble and a very
political culture. they have not heard are taken seriously the criticisms of her. and so i don't think that, they think the celebrity on her staff is going to improve the reputation on the journalism school. i think you're right, they should be concerned about that academic quality of the school with a short of the math that they are not. my colleague wrote about it a couple of years ago, the journalism is been completely gutted the requirements for students in the majors are not required to take history or economics. are any of the things that would help them become better journalists better understand understand the things they're reporting on. as i think this is impeding the direction of the school and surreal chain. >> i think that the two peter's
description of her as a academic celebrity is apt but seemingly without academics. this is been going on for some time in, while we all kind point to the declines of the curriculum and the standards. with this is just a high-profile case of that. and that's precisely why it is problematic in this case. the granting of the tenure, in the classroom is not a matter of celebrity. it might be in some cases to finally bring somebody who has tested experience and somebody actually is journalist and on the journalistic part of it. these are questions about their relationships and the things that they call facts or their
way of approaching their work. this seems to have nothing to do with that. i would suggest that we seem to be having two conversations. as i read the story, obviously more broadly this 1619 debate. the issue with other things like 1776. the claim here being made by the advocates of 1619, have nothing to do with that and they don't claim to have the facts. that fact is not what this is about. this is a narrative, and ideology and are using in this case the academy using the situation to advance a political outcome. i think the school of journalism, the board of
trustees and others are watching all of this go on, you need to step back and see what is happening. this not nearly set of facts and we disagree. this is upending the whole status of facts and history and truth. for political purposes bring about an outcome which has nothing to do with those facts percent. that's not what this conversation is about. so i think that we shouldn't fool ourselves that well she has her critics because people in the right don't like her facts. if no, that's out with this about. it is a fundamental questioning of the whole academic project. the whole journalistic project itself in pursuing facts and writing about the truth. and undermines history and questions history itself. we should see that for what it
is. >> into the point matthew, it's interesting that we have a comment on facebook and actually received a question about this by e-mail. the 1619 project project itself, could you give us an example of perhaps a brief summary of what it is clinical hannah jones is arguing for pretty what she seea fact in her 1619 project and what is wrong with it. >> also written a lot about this, very good on all of this. i think the original comment. the whole thing is based on a series of facts, make claims and narratives that overarching interpretation is that, it's wrong. says that america was founded and began because of and for the sake of slavery.
that is the absolutely central idea of all of american history. that is factually incorrect but overarching leg historically incorrect. and it's intended to get around the actual facts of history in order to spin this argument and to go after the very claims of things like the american founding in american history. for reasons that have to do with establishing that right now and fighting current politics this is systemically racist. ... ... and another month latere
america it's then grown up into this significant event that was part of this scheme by which people were oppressed. there is of course a history and even the basic part all of the claims were so outrageous that they got even people on the far left exercised with this revolution from the project is saying that the american revolution was brought by the colonists against the british in order to preserve the institution of slavery against
the threat. even "the new york times" read and they kind of recanted. the original fact checker came forward six months later and i told them that was wrong but they didn't change it. after she came forward, and she happened to be black, they went to the original instead of saying you gave this rebellion to preserve slavery. even that is false because the british never made that threat we know from newspapers at the time.
to our knowledge to this day no one has ever found that yes lets let's rebel against the british because they will take our slaves away. in fact, the british are the biggest slave trading nation and the world at that point. i don't know what other adjectives i can put in their what strikes me and then others i would immediately pursue a discussion to discover the truth and the facts and have that
conversation. the very fact that we are not doing that and it is all or nothing, or we are defenders of slavery and want to erase history that tells you right there this is not about history. this is not about trying to discover the accurate history and have a conversation with students about that. this is about a political battle right now. it's so obvious this discussion i think it makes it all the more clear what's going on. >> we have questions wanting to know what is the relationship between the 1619 project and race theory.
we are having a discussion about that being taught in our public schools. so, what is the relationship? are those two things the same, or how are they related? >> i will give a simple answer to that. the project is a concrete application of the critical race theory that has been around in academia for several decades. they've simply taken this generalization by this particularly egregious and false narrative but they dovetail together. you could without the project but the 1619 project makes it easier which is the whole point.
>> please go ahead. a. >> a little bit about the 1619 project and the sword of political battle, let's not forget 1619 makes "the new york times" relevant not that they weren't but they hadn't had as big of a viewership as they did or i should take that back, there were people lined up at newsstands around the block. people were buying "the new york times" print edition and they hadn't seen that kind of response since barack obama won the election. make no mistake this is also a way for "new york times" to make
some money. it's relevant in so many places across the country. i'm not saying the primary driver but it is important in all of this. >> i'm seeing some reporting that they might consider a lawsuit over this. is there any basis for that? what would be the damages? >> to teach at the chapel hills journalism school. >> i can think of any credible legal argument, nor have i heard the planned legal argument. i've heard that she might sue but i don't know what the charges would be and i can't figure it out. i'm just not creative in that way. >> i think it's important to
understand the person sending their kids to school during these terms let's set aside identity politics, you know, equity outcome the terms keep changing but the bottom line is that there was a turn in the history and a longer explanation there was a turn in history that started looking at history intentionally backward to figure out what history is telling us and to find what we are looking for. that's what the critical race theory is. we go back to find these things for the sole purpose but the
current battle they want to fight is about race and it applies to history which is what the project does is to look backwards regardless of the fact and make a narrative so it's between all these things and the study of history but in the current public debate with race in american politics these are definitely by definition connected and the current status of the liberal scholarship to fight in this way in order to
advance the political objectives which is at the heart of what critical race theory was intended to do to stir up race debates as a way to expand the initial cases of critical theory to advance a marxist political agenda and we should see it for what it is. >> one of the things that you have done is to serve as the executive director of the 1776 advisory commission. can you give us kind of a brief summary of the commission's work and where it stands? >> i will be brief here. i want to hear other people and how this might connect. i took lead to be the executive
director in december of last year so this is after the election. the commission had been announced on last year's constitution day. what do we do with this commission? the current president asks me to be involved in a commission on 1776, i would do that, tomac. the purpose of the commission is to prepare the nation to advise the president about getting the declaration of independence which is coming up so the first thing it asks for is a report about the status and in light of that, what those mean so we took it as an opportunity. we had 20 commissioners and went about it to try to make the case
to put the marker down. we didn't come up with anything crazy. we made a brief argument that 1776 was the birthday of the country, the time at which these people had been developing on the eastern seaboard and who had been becoming a people and were governing themselves and came together to declare independence for a set of reasons that would eventually lead to the end of the writing so that is factually important so it's what those principles mean especially that all men are created equal and our guide through that look at the founding if you will, our
guide was abraham lincoln who pointed out -- and i think this gets back to the key of how to look at history -- what drives it is not its imperfections and flaws in the cases of slavery that it's a dehumanizing barbaric inspiration and they talk about it in those terms but what drives the history of america is that it begins with the statement of a principle prl held to be self-evident and true and so what's wonderful about american history is not the compromises for slavery which were done in order to create the union. what's great about america is they could say all men are created equal and it ultimately led to abolition.
it began in america and grew out of the declaration of independence. that is the hardest story we learned to tell and we released a report on martin luther king day, two days before a new president was inaugurated. >> that is an important point. are you saying the biden administration killed the website? >> once it was published it was a public document so it could be taken down but it's still out there floating around and i encourage everyone to read it on their own but to come back to the discussion about these other things, the commission submitted
a letter as an advisory report to object to the regulation to teach that to schools the commission was abolished and was the same executive order by which the new administration instructed the federal government to pursue not a quality but equity outcomes that is to say the political race theory had to get rid of the 1776 commission. it denied the very premise of the political battle. >> it seems like a critical and
astonishing point in our culture and our public discussion and that is on the one hand what we are talking about today which is the controversy hired by chapel hill based on a project 1619 that is completely different from what you're describing about american history chronicled in the 1776 commission report to what seems to be diametrically opposed information about the founding so what is the person supposed to do and believe is accurate? >> if it was done to respond to projects it makes note in one footnote but otherwise that
wasn't the intention at all. there were the driving principles of american history to point us towards developing an understanding that is fair and accurate and honest so despite all of its flaws we could see the principle behind it. that's not what we are talking about here. what we are talking about is an accurate and fair history and it's pretty impossible to deny the 1776 which was somehow a historical speedbump.
the ideological political debates on the table by 1619 and this has been going on for some time. i've been studying this and you will hear we have been putting time into this work this is an ongoing discussion inherent in what it means to be american. that's important unto itself. helping school boards that think about this and helping homeschool moms by pointing them towards good and accurate history. we didn't have an answer or
claim to but we are just pointing towards history which your 24 this is the history of martin luther king and abraham lincoln. that's what we need to be teaching and i think 1619 in this current debate we need to move beyond quickly to have good scholars. >> that's such an important point. 1619 if you could put that aside the debate over the ironing, teaching history and you have a degree in history it's so important and we are hearing about it here at the john locke
foundation that many parents had to become up close and personal suddenly they are concerned about some of the lessons that they are understanding their children are being taught and that is why the foundation center are focused on this. we are in the middle of a debate over social studies standards right now. a. >> a couple things on that toyo. we got all kinds of questions from parents during the pandemic and everything else. we are looking for a good resource also the john locke foundation it is the history not trying to re-create we are
taking the project and turning it into a k-12 curriculum. there is a thirst for it. the other thing on this point truth and honesty in history are things that were just posted on the website north carolina goes through this they are putting away the critical race theory. it's not much that he's talked about. they come out with some
supporting documents and they are just glossaries and terms. these are social studies standards, history standards. our center says where have i seen this before and goes and literally takes it from the state board of education and finds out. some of it is just flat out plagiarized. we have every right right now to be concerned and ask questions.
it follows our history project so people can get other sources what he found all those terms were they were using wikipedia and plagiarizing. if you're going to plagiarize are you going to plagiarize wikipedia? come on. it disrupted an entire meaning. wait a second if they are not getting the definitions right and they are getting the definitions from wikipedia the social studies standards have some serious issues.
this is a theme right now in north carolina with this project and what she will be doing and certainly what is happening at the state board of education level. >> you know, i think about this and to me it is also connected because we see what's happening moving through these social studies standards. some of them will end up in the state university systems and being taught a fame to claim. over the years it seems there will become an alternative view of the country's founding which could shape a generation or more. that seems to be pretty
concerning that we want to know what kids are being taught are facts, whatever they want to think about it is a whole another issue we can come to our own conclusions about what we think is good or bad about our country or we need to know actually what factually is good and bad about our country. >> that is troubling but it's also nothing new. k-12 schools and colleges have been using the people's history of the united states for years and it looks through the lenses of the oppressed so at every turn and it points out the flaws in the system and of course there are flaws but it doesn't show the purpose, the purpose, the traditions that built the country on the other side. the other thing i want to point
out is in some ways, yes the k-12 schools are feeding students that have been indoctrinated or will be indoctrinated in the university. but it starts in the schools of education and universities were teachers are being trained in some of the most politicized and anti-factual department in universities. they are politically one-sided and repeatedly ignore research to the contrary of their political agendas educate, schools of education are the reason that for years students were taught whole language instead of phonics and now schools of education are where teachers are learning about equitable math.
we need to use culturally sensitive science instead of learning facts so i'm going to put a lot of this that the schools of education and universities are where a lot of it got cooked up in the first place. >> this discussion has been so valuable and i think we have some of the falsehoods that we know are out there about in particular the hiring situation and also had a good discussion about what is the premise of the 1619 project and the status of the commission. i would like to make sure we leave the viewers with resources. we know for reporting on this issue we want to make sure you come to the carolina journal.com at least once a day to be checking up on the reporting as the story continues to go along. we don't know exactly where it is going to go but we will be
covering that. amy also mentioned the north carolina history project. you can go to that website for some really fascinating history and that is north carolina specific if you are looking for just general knowledge or for your kids as a supplement to what they are learning. peter, you've written extensively about this issue. where can folks find your writing about nicole hannah jones? [inaudible] matthew, where can folks find the 1776 commission report even though it's been pulled down from the website if we just google it for example can we find it? >> it is a public document so just search the report and it will come up.
a bunch of places have it on their website so it is easily downloadable and free. encounter books has put out a version with all the footnotes to all of our work which they criticize in academic as myself for not having footnotes we will publish a full curriculum to the general public. >> and that website is. >> hillsdale .edu. >> vice president for washington operations with skilled hill college, the president of the national association of scholars, jenna robinson as president of the james martin center for academic renewal and amy cook is the ceo at the john
locke foundation. thank you both so much. appreciate your perspective today. >> thank you. >> we also want to thank you so much for joining us and thank you for being engaged and caring about the debate for wanting to know what is going on and caring about facts. that is so important. every day we hope you go to the website of the john locke foundation. all sorts of great fact-based research and information on a variety of public policy issues and also journalism done the old-fashioned way with the rigorous facts. carolina journal.com is the place to go for that.