University Of Oregon Paid ‘1619 Project’ Writer Nikole Hannah-Jones $25K To Lecture On ‘Systemic Racism’

The University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication paid New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the writer behind the anti-historical “1619 Project,” for a Zoom lecture in February on “1619 and the Legacy that Built a Nation,” as first reported by Campus Reform.

Hannah-Jones raked in $25,000, evident by a Freedom of Information Request filed by Campus Reform. The Feb. 19 event was co-sponsored by the university’s Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and Division of Equity and Inclusion, among other groups.

The organization that was paid by The University of Oregon was the Lavin Agency, as shown by the FOIA. The agency defines itself as “the world’s largest intellectual talent agency, representing leading thinkers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, consulting, and endorsements.” The group also offers the likes of Margaret Atwood, leftist activist Angela Davis, Khan Academy Chief Executive Officer Salman Khan, climate writer Naomi Klein, and other big names.

The “1619 Project” writer discussed why Americans need to “remain vigilant” while fighting for “racial inequality.” A promotional flyer for the event claimed there is a “lasting legacy of Black enslavement on the nation.”

“As the lead writer for New York Times Magazine’s the “1619 Project,’ a major viral multimedia initiative observing the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves arriving in America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones explores the lasting legacy of Black enslavement on the nation—specifically, how Black Americans pushed for the democracy we have today,” the flyer read.

Last week, Hulu announced it will stream the “1619 Project,” which Lionsgate studios and Oprah Winfrey partnered to fund this summer. Hulu praised the project by Hannah-Jones in a press release as “a landmark undertaking … of the brutal racism that endures in so many aspects of American life today.” Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize for her project — which has been debunked by several historians for its pushing of the false premise that America was both founded in 1619 and that the Revolutionary War was fought to sustain slavery.

“[I]t would not surprise me in the slightest if the university is actively attempting to hide its embrace of radicalism,” Oregon Federation of College Republicans Chairman Ben Ehrlich said to Campus Reform.

John Large, a spokesman for the Lane County Republicans where the university is located, told The Federalist that “The University of Oregon is so damned two-faced that if a conservative went to the campus, they would go ahead and throw them guys out.”

According to a document put out by the university, the event was not permitted to be recorded or redistributed.


New Yorker Attempt To Dunk On Conservatives Further Shows Why H.R. 1 Is A Threat

In attempting to own conservatives by leaking partial audio of a presentation to Republicans by the director of research at a conservative nonprofit, staff writer Jane Mayer at The New Yorker further illuminates why H.R. 1 is a garbage proposal. Mayer misunderstands the Republican base’s argument completely and produces a straw man.

The March 29 report is based on audio from a Jan. 8 phone call in which Kyle McKenzie of Stand Together discusses the “For The People Act,” known as H.R. 1. The election bill passed in the House on March 3 at a vote of 220 to 210. The Democrats require a supermajority of 60 votes in the Senate to pass it and some seek to eliminate the filibuster to do so.

In the leaked call, McKenzie provides strategies to Republican congressional staffers on how the GOP ought to most effectively communicate to voters what the misguided legislation imposes. He grants that establishment GOP messaging has thus far failed to educate people enough about H.R. 1, and suggests those on the call provide thorough explanations and anecdotes to voters instead of engaging in “surface-level messaging” that is frankly common in political debates nowadays.

McKenzie notes the GOP has engaged in one-sided messaging on H.R. 1, instead of offering human stories and why the legislation will directly affect people. McKenzie also claims polling has shown support for the measure. While Democrats argue a Data for Progress poll in February that found 68 percent of “likely voters” would support this assertion, an Honest Elections Project poll in March showed 64 percent of respondents seek to protect laws fighting voter fraud.

McKenzie correctly points out H.R. 1 is a convoluted bill. Therefore, Americans do need to be offered specific ways it would affect their lives, not fed repetitive lectures from Republican operatives on socialism or the like.

A significant flaw of Mayer’s article is her reliance on McKenzie as a pseudo-spokesman for all of the GOP, branding him as some sort of all-knowing figure behind the curtain pulling the strings. She both mischaracterizes H.R. 1 and misunderstands major reasons conservatives take issue with it.

What H.R. 1 Really Is

The New Yorker writer relies on The New York Times‘ claim that H.R. 1 is “the most substantial expansion of voting rights in a half-century.” Mayer says the efforts by Republicans “to deter Democratic constituencies from voting” is even more appalling given “the extraordinary attempts by Donald Trump and his supporters to undermine the 2020 election.”

For starters, Mayer chiefly neglects to mention supporters of Democrat candidates who have also objected to election results. The left has made a big stink about the Republicans who objected to the 2020 certification of the Electoral College, but Democrats have done just this for the last three Republican presidents.

Even if the writer’s characterization of “extraordinary” is to define those who wished to undermine the election is in the context of the breach at the Capitol in January, the idea this group represents a majority of the Republican Party is completely unsubstantiated, not to mention the opposite of the truth. Also, if Mayer wants to talk about “extraordinary attempts” to “undermine” the American system, look no further than the billions of dollars in rioting and looting Black Lives Matter and Antifa inflicted in more than 20 cities in the most expensive manmade disaster in U.S. history.

Mayer oversimplifies the 800-page legislation. For someone who wrote a little over 2,000 words criticizing Republicans for supposedly failing thus far on voter messaging, she avoids a fair characterization of her own party’s goals. If Mayer is going to stand behind a bill proposed by her own coalition, she should say what it actually would do. But she doesn’t. Why?

H.R. 1 is a Democratic Party wishlist to eliminate election security. Among other things it does, which The Federalist has reported on here, here, and here, the For The People Act would turn election day into election season. It would also require blanketing the country with hundreds of millions of mail-in ballots, extending the confusion of 2020 to every future federal election.

Mayer’s backing of President Joe Biden’s press conference claim the GOP opposing the bill is “sick” and “un-American” is only fitting, since both Biden and The New Yorker writer oversimplify the measure and do not mostly address GOP concerns. This includes a two-week delay in ballots being opened, zero voter ID at polls, enabling 16- and 17-year-olds to register to vote, a mandate against election audit recounts, and much much more.

None of these provisions are mentioned in Mayer’s analysis, and it is clear why. Allowing 16-year-olds to vote is a policy that Americans have overwhelmingly disapproved of in the past, per a Hill-HarrisX poll. According to a McLaughlin & Associates/Newsmax poll in Nov. 2020, two-thirds of Americans believed Trump’s election recount efforts in the 2020 presidential election were fair and legal.

A Rasmussen poll from March showed 75 percent of voters support ID laws as a prerequisite to casting a ballot. This is echoed by the aforementioned Honest Elections Project poll. It states:

Over three-quarters (77%) want people to show a photo ID to cast a ballot, while only 14% oppose it. Voters who supported Joe Biden in the 2020 election back ID requirements by nearly 40 points (62% vs. 24%). Majorities of Republicans (92%), Independents (75%), and Democrats (63%) all support voter ID. Some politicians and progressive activists frequently malign voter ID laws as discriminatory, but by huge margins both Black and Hispanic voters favor them (for Black voters, 64% vs. 22%; for Hispanic voters, 78% vs. 16%). Similarly, 64% of Black voters, 77% of Hispanics, and 76% of low income voters reject the notion that showing an ID is a ‘burden,’ despite frequent claims from the left.

While Mayer claims H.R. 1 is “overwhelmingly popular across the political spectrum,” and chides McKenzie for failing to acknowledge this erroneous platitude, many of its major provisions have been measured in polls as highly unpopular. But the author deceivingly neglects this.

Donor Disclosure In H.R. 1

Instead of discussing any of the above provisions and more H.R. 1 would push through, The New Yorker writer solely focuses on the bill’s forcing of organizations and political speakers to disclose political donations. Mayer grossly mischaracterizes the provision and why conservatives find it deeply dangerous.

“The speakers on the call expressed alarm at the broad popularity of the bill’s provision calling for more public disclosure about secret political donors,” Mayer writes.

To play devil’s advocate for a moment, let’s assume H.R. 1 is a demonstrably popular bill Americans support. Even if this were the case, Mayer’s argument relies on the idea that just because something is popular means it is the proper policy to pursue. Sure, Mayer sprinkles in a few examples of literal support for the measure, but she largely just claims H.R. 1’s “popularity” makes it necessary to pass, superficially rendering the GOP “out of touch.”

There is a thing called right and wrong in society, and eliminating privacy for law-abiding citizens to expose them to harassment by pressure groups is surely wrong. As The Heritage Foundation cites, H.R. 1 would mandate exorbitant rates for “candidates, citizens, civic groups, unions, corporations, and nonprofit organizations” and “its onerous disclosure requirements for nonprofit organizations would subject their members and donors to intimidation and harassment.”

The writer also trivializes the fact that the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union has voiced disapproval over the donor disclosure provision in H.R. 1. The ACLU acknowledged in a January letter to House Democrats the measure “could harm political advocacy and expose non-profit donors to harassment and threats of violence should their support for organizations be subject to forced disclosure.”

“And the A.C.L.U. supports almost all of the expansions of voting rights contained in the bill, although it has sided with the Koch groups and other conservative organizations in arguing that donors to nonprofit groups could be harassed if their names are disclosed,” Mayer writes.

Nonprofit Involvement in Politics

“Coördinating directly with the right-wing policy groups, which define themselves as nonpartisan for tax purposes, were two top Republican congressional staffers,” Mayer writes, alluding to two congressional staffers on the leaked call.

The first part is the real kicker. The writer is misrepresenting the reality that a whole swath of left-wing public policy organizations do the exact same thing, sometimes while falsely claiming to be “nonpartisan.”

Look no further than Arabella Advisors, which claims to be “philanthropic” while funneling millions into Democratic causes through a “money-mixing” formula. Arabella moves funding through four separate political organizations that each contain dozens of other funds. It is a for-profit, pyramidal organization providing leftist nonprofits with a flow of dollars to spend.

Arabella is the king of dark money. Through the Sixteen Thirty Fund, for instance, Arabella funded Allied Progress, an organization that claims to be “nonpartisan.” Allied Progress has commissioned dozens upon dozens of articles on then-President Trump, blasting him for economic policy.

In 2018, The Washington Free Beacon reported the group was a sponsor of The New Venture Fund. The New Venture Fund is funded by the George Soros Open Society Foundations. Billionaire Soros is notable for investing $220 million in Black Lives Matter this summer.

Mayer broaches the issue of dark money organizations, although this is a losing issue for her argument. In the 2020 presidential election, dark-money groups spent $145 million to elect Joe Biden, whereas groups spent a fraction of that to elect Trump — $28 million.

Transparency In The Name Of Silence

According to Mayer, “[a]dvocates for greater transparency in political spending argue that there is no serious evidence of any such harassment” in regard to mandating public disclosure of all donors. In making this claim, the writer only cites one individual — a lawyer at the ACLU who is not quoted on the record and claimed there is no evidence there will be harassment of individuals upon the release of financial disclosures.

The senior legislative counsel, Kate Ruane, cited the backlash for millionaire actress Mila Kunis after it was reported she donated to Planned Parenthood under the false name of former Vice President Mike Pence. Ruane cited this one abnormal example as harassment involving a Hollywood elite. Ruane is a Democrat who supports Big Tech censorship, came out in support of legalized prostitution, and has flirted in several articles with the anti-Israel movement Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Mayer did not exactly choose a nonpartisan figure to aid her piece. She chose an apparent radical.

The major crux of Mayer’s argument is groups ought to have to disclose donors in the name of transparency. But a necessary follow-up to this claim is why? Do Democrats seek to uncover who is funding right-leaning organizations and people just in the holy name of “transparency,” or is another motivation fueling this effort?

Given that two-thirds of Americans agree that cancel culture is a threat to freedom, and similar numbers fear saying what they truly think, it’s pretty obvious that a supermajority of Americans agree privacy is needed to secure people’s freedoms to support whatever candidates they believe in.

Private free speech violations are on the table here. Supreme Court case NAACP v. Alabama in 1958 was a landmark decision that validated the unconstitutionality of forcing an organization to silence individuals based on disclosure.

There is great precedent in regard to the constitutionality of anonymous speech, shown by decisions in Watkins v. United States (1957),  Bates v. Little Rock (1960), and Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Committee (1963), Talley v. California (1960), McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (1995), Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation (1999), and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York v. Village of Stratton (2002).

Pressure and Intimidation

Mayer claims “pressure tactics” may work on “individual lawmakers,” noting H.R. 1 “faces an uphill fight in the Senate.” Ironically, pressure tactics are the precise reason conservatives oppose H.R. 1’s public disclosure portion. Whereas the New Yorker writer says such pressure tactics are being applied from organizations to lawmakers to oppose H.R. 1, significant pressure would be applied to all Americans if H.R. 1 passes.

In religiously fighting for transparency, Americans would face mounting obstacles in supporting a given cause. As society grows more partisan, political discrimination increases against those whose views diverge from those in power. Just look at what happened to Parler or Ryan T. Anderson’s book “When Harry Became Sally” or the example of GoFundMe shutting down a fundraiser opposing critical race theory. Now picture this times 1,000 if H.R. 1 passes.

But this is the whole point of H.R. 1, folks. It is to place us on different teams, pitted against one another, unable to participate in civil society on an equal basis. Mayer misses the point completely — and perhaps that is on purpose.


When The Powerful Say Truth Is A Lie And Lies Are The Truth, No One Will Stand Up For America But You

Open The New York Times’ politics page Thursday morning and the top headline reads, “Democrats Begin Push For Biggest Expansion In Voting Since 1960s.” It’s a story about the most important election power-grab in modern legislative history, with a slim, partisan majority of senators seeking to wrest control of elections away from state governments to ensure Democrat control for decades to come.

For starters, H.R. 1 will ban voter ID requirements, mandate early voting, allow outside activist groups to deliver votes for counting, do away with notarized absentee ballots, force states to accept absentees for 10 days after an election is over, narrow the Federal Election Commission by one member to allow for partisan control, mandate counting illegal aliens in voting districts, allow the IRS to investigate non-profits’ political ideas, and make it nearly impossible to sue over the new rules.

In short, it’s a story about Democrats aiming to seize massive power over how elections are run. Of course, you wouldn’t get any of that information from The New York Times headline or copy. In fact, funny enough, the second story on The New York Times’ politics page Thursday morning was the one headlined, “Republicans Aim To Seize More Power Over How Elections Are Run.”

That one’s a story about Republicans working to pull control of the elections back from judges and officials’ extra-legislative “emergency rules” and rulings. The moves, the story reports with a straight face, are “threatening the fairness that is the bedrock of American democracy.”

The New York Times' Politics Page, March 25, 2021.

The New York Times' Politics Page, March 25, 2021.

Reasonable people can disagree on if they think the Democrats or Republicans are right or wrong in their different initiatives, but the stark difference between these two top news headlines is glaring — and not too long ago would have been deeply embarrassing to any serious news editor.

Meanwhile, over at Axios, the news sites’ two co-founders wrote an article about President Joe Biden’s plan to “re-engineer America quickly.” At a closed-door White House meeting, they report, “the historians” agreed with the presidents’ thinking that, “It is time to go even bigger and faster than anyone expected. If that means chucking the filibuster and bipartisanship, so be it.”

There’s virtually zero skepticism in their reporting. Instead, in the condescending little “Why It Matters” breakdown, readers are treated to how bold and historic this massive left-wing power-grab will be. “[Biden] won’t rub [Republicans’] noses in it,” they write, predicting instead that he is on his way to becoming a modern President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The intensity with which these outlets simply spewed Democratic propaganda Thursday morning was shameless. While this is no longer unusual, in an age when Americans from coast to coast have grown used to casually shrugging away their freedoms at the whim of a television doctor and his political allies, this kind of propaganda is seriously dangerous.

For the past year here in Washington, D.C., as well as in cities and states across the country, we’ve been told not to gather with our friends, neighbors, and family, not to worship God with our parishes, and not to visit our sick or elderly loved ones. We’ve even been told not to admire outdoor beauty, with the National Park Service’s Tuesday announcement that they will be choking off the number of people permitted to admire the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin this spring.

And every single day we are subjected to more base lies disguised as lofty truths. Breathing freely without two masks is selfish. Staying indoors is good for your neighbors. Our differences are what make us a community. We are all in this together.

Powerful black people are oppressed and poor white people are privileged.

Qanon is marching on Washington and the Ku Klux Klan is right behind every door.

Men are women, women are men, and pregnant women make great professional soldiers.

Power-grabs are voting rights. Election integrity threatens “the bedrock of American democracy.”

Joe Biden is an historic visionary.

“War is peace.”

“Democracy dies in darkness.”

Except that last one is true. The problem, of course, is while corporate media were excited to scream it from the rooftops during President Donald Trump’s four years in office, at a time the most powerful people in the country are insisting the truth is a lie and their lies are the truth, many of our best-known reporters are not merely absent, they’re complicit.

Thursday afternoon, when the president took questions for the first time in more than nine weeks, PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, for example, asked how the president deals with the tension of attracting ungovernable masses of illegal immigrants to the border after being “elected as a moral, decent man.” Instead of rolling their eyes, two more reporters referentially played off her questions.

Will Biden run for re-election in four years, another reporter queried. Will Vice President Kamala Harris be his running mate? Why isn’t he moving faster to smash the tools designed to protect the Senate’s minority party?

“How far,” AP’s Zeke Miller asked at the top of the presser, “are you willing to go to achieve those promises that you made to the American people?”

We already know the answer to that question because the Democratic Party has made it abundantly clear they will go as far as they physically can. They will come into our schools, they come into our churches, they will come into our social media, our place of employment, our private company, our home, and our family.

The real question is: How far will we let them come? Because no one else is going to stand up for us.


5 Other Totally Bogus Stories Designed To Hurt Trump The Media Got Away With

The correction by The Washington Post concerning false information about a phone call between former President Donald Trump and the Georgia secretary of state’s chief investigator is no anomaly. The neglect of truth and preference for anonymous sources is deeply ingrained in the corrupt left-wing media’s strategy.

You will notice that establishment media errors, omissions, mistakes, and outright lies always slant one way — against me and against Republicans. Meanwhile, stories that hurt Democrats or undermine their narratives are buried, ignored, or delayed until they can do the least harm,” Trump said in a statement Monday in response to widespread corrections from The New York Times, CNN, ABC, and so on. 

The Washington Post correction struck right to the core of why journalism is dying and has been for years, and it served as a reminder of the media’s lack of ethics and standards throughout the Russian collusion scramble. Here are five major Trump-Russia stories the media botched.

CNN: The WikiLeaks Email

CNN relied on anonymous sourcing to falsely conclude the date President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. received an email to access WikiLeaks documents. The outlet claimed the email was leaked and decrypted information that was not yet released to the public.

Senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju and politics reporter Jeremy Herb dated the email Sept. 4, 2016, which would have been more than a week before WikiLeaks released the documents to the public. In reality, the Trumps obtained the email on Sept. 14, a day after the documents were made public. Raju and Herb relied on two separate anonymous sources.

Hours later, CNN corrected its prior article but did not issue a retraction, nor had CBS. Within an hour of CNN publishing the report, Ken Dilanian of MSNBC claimed he had “independently confirmed” the misguided scoop.

“CNN’s initial reporting of the date on an email sent to members of the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks documents, which was confirmed by two sources to CNN, was incorrect,” CNN said in a statement. “We have updated our story to include the correct date, and present the proper context for the timing of email. The new information indicates that the communication is less significant than CNN initially reported.”

After CNN reported on this alleged controversy, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Daily Caller cross-referenced documents and clarified the proper date.

ABC: Michael Flynn’s Russian Relationship

ABC’s chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross stated in a live “special report” on Dec. 1, 2017, that Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn was set to testify that he was ordered by the president to contact Russians about foreign policy while Trump was still a candidate.

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That same day, ABC issued a “clarification” asserting that the directive by Trump to Flynn was while Trump was in office, fundamentally changing the narrative. The erroneous scoop suggested that Trump did in fact interfere in U.S. foreign policy at the same time that then-President Barack Obama unleashed sanctions on Russia.

The next day, ABC announced its four-week suspension for Ross without pay. ABC then officially retracted the story. According to reports, it took longer than usual to issue a retraction because Ross was unable to get in touch with his confidential source until several hours from the time of the clarification.

“The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process. As a result of our continued reporting over the next several hours ultimately we determined the information was wrong and we corrected the mistake on air and online,” ABC said in a statement.

Seven months after the retraction, Ross left ABC. Ross’s story made the stock market tank 350 points at one point, showing the extent to which malfeasant journalists with power can pull the levers in society.

“Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt. More Networks and ‘papers’ should do the same with their Fake News!” Trump tweeted.

NYT: 17 US Intelligence Agencies ‘Agree’

On June 25, 2017, The New York Times published a report that had been debunked nearly a month prior by The Daily Caller. In the article, the Times reasserted the false claim that 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies all concurred that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

This lie had been peddled by left-leaning outlets for about six months prior. See here and here, for instance. Four days after the Times ran its article, a White House memo confirmed that only four agencies had actually “approved” of the sweeping assessment.

The Daily Caller report, published June 1, referenced Hillary Clinton’s statement in an interview that week about Russian interference in the election. “Read the declassified report by the Intelligence Community that came out in early January,” Clinton said. “Seventeen agencies, all in agreement — which I know from my experience as a senator and secretary of state is hard to get — they concluded with ‘high confidence’ that the Russians ran an extensive information war against my campaign to influence voters in the election.”

The report Clinton referenced, however, which was published on Jan. 7, 2017, was supported by the FBI, the CIA, and the National Security Agency — three agencies, not 17. The Times also entirely neglected the fact that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified on May 8 to debunk the proposed number of agencies.

The Times corrected its article four days later. The Associated Press published a “clarification” on June 30 regarding several stories. Other outlets followed suit, although USA Today has yet to issue anything on this false piece from October 2016. Curiously, USA Today issued an edit on the article on Dec. 16, 2016, nearly two months after its publication. The edit has not been clarified.

CNN: Scaramucci and the Russian Direct Investment Fund

In June 2017, CNN reported that then-President Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci was linked to the Russian Direct Investment Fund. The story claimed that Senate investigators were monitoring a sum of $10 million in the fund, with which Scaramucci supposedly had activities.

A day later, CNN officially retracted the story, implying that the article was shoddily sourced. “On June 22, 2017, published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund. That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci,” the outlet said in a statement.

Days later, three CNN staffers resigned over the retraction: Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Harris. Scaramucci called Washington bureau chief Sam Feist and floated the idea of a lawsuit, according to Politico.

Due to this and other editorial blunders relying on anonymous sourcing, CNN claimed it was imposing “stricter standards.” Buzzfeed News obtained an internal memo sent to all staff by CNNMoney executive editor Rich Barbieri. “No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas],” Barbieri said, referencing CNN Business’s vice president.

Buzzfeed: Trump’s Direction to Lie

In a vague, poorly-sourced story, Buzzfeed News claimed in January 2019 that Trump attorney Michael Cohen informed investigators employed under special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump “directed” him to lie in regard to contact he made with a Russian official.

Shortly after the publishing of the report, Mueller’s office released a statement fully denying it. It was the first time such a statement had been provided in the more than one and a half years of his investigation.

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” said a spokesman for the special counsel in a statement.

The outlet did not use specific dates to back up its claims nor actual quotations from Cohen’s talks with Trump. Buzzfeed has continued to decline to comment on which documents it used to create the report. Upon the report’s publication, Democrats insisted that Trump most certainly was guilty of obstruction of justice or suborned perjury.

“In the interest of protecting … sources, we aren’t going to speak further on the details of who saw what and when, beyond what’s in the reporting,” a Buzzfeed spokesman told The Daily Caller at the time.

In an interview with CNN, Buzzfeed journalist Anthony Cormier admitted he had not even seen the so-called documents he referred to in the article. “I’ve not seen it personally, but the folks that we’ve talked to, the two officials we’ve spoken to, are fully, 100 percent read in to that aspect of the special counsel’s investigation,” Cormier said.

The other journalist, Jason Leopold, flip-flopped several times on who had seen which documents and when. Buzzfeed News still has not clarified.

“We can’t get into, like, the details there,” Cormier said two days later to CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Shortly after Mueller’s statement, The Washington Post said the Buzzfeed report was “almost entirely incorrect.” The New York Times noted that “several reporters who cover the Justice Department said they interpreted the statement” by Mueller “as a full denial of BuzzFeed’s conclusions.”

“It was remarkable what we saw happening for 24 hours in the media, on the basis of the report that appeared in BuzzFeed,” then-Vice President Mike Pence said to Chris Wallace that Sunday. “It’s one of the reasons why people are so frustrated with many in the national media.”

Buzzfeed has not corrected nor retracted this story. There is no indication that it is factual.


If This Week You Learned Biden is ‘Hopeful’ And Tucker Carlson Is Evil, Congratulations, You’ve Been Lied To

“Biden Tells Nation There Is Hope After a Devastating Year.”

“Hopeful Biden Says, ‘I Need You.’”

“Biden Sets Vaccine Goal That Would Allow Americans To Gather By July 4.”

These headlines, from the covers of the printed New York Times, LA Times, and Boston Globe, greeted Americans Friday morning, 51 days into the Biden presidency and a full year into the beginnings of America’s long lockdown experiment.

“Seven Takeaways From Biden’s Prime-Time Address” topped CNN’s site. Chris Cillizza’s first two “takeaways”? “Donald Trump dug the hole” was number one. Number two? “A return to empathy.” Chris Cillizza, it’s worth noting, is a 45-year-old man and does not work for the White House.

“Last night is why Joe Biden won the presidency,” Politico Playbook opened with a straight face.

If you hadn’t watched the president’s prime-time address, you might think it was something — anything — other than the most depressing, defeated, and resigned speech since President Jimmy Carter held the office. You might think he hadn’t devoted his third sentence to a baseless attack on his predecessor, and the entire rest of his address to death, sadness, loneliness, and despair. You might think he hadn’t literally threatened the American people, warning, “We may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track, please, we don’t want to do that again.”

Rather, to read The Washington Post homepage’s featured commentary on the address, you’d think “Much of that speech was about hope.”

“It was about seeing a shaft of light at the end of a dark horror,” Robin Givhan, a 56-year-old woman who once won a Pulitzer for “witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism,” wrote. “His white French cuffs and his crisp pocket square,” she went to tell us, “evoked all of the institutional power and authority at his disposal to make things better.”

“[H]is mere presence on television,” she insisted, was a declaration of “his pride in the country’s progress.”

If you’re wondering why you didn’t see any of this, don’t worry: It didn’t happen. But more and more, we all have to take a step back, throw some water on our faces, and look around in disbelief at the state of our corporate media.

Take the other big story of the week: Fox News’s Tucker Carlson dared say that our country, faced with a vicious China growing stronger every day, shouldn’t pat itself on the back for its military featuring “maternity flight suits.” This is so obvious it shouldn’t need to be said at all, but the Pentagon felt the need to react anyways, launching a full-on broadside on his heresy.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a veteran whose Blackhawk was shot down by insurgents, launched a fundraiser for her campaign called “F*ck Tucker Carlson.” The commander of Space Force filmed an unintentionally hysterical video on his webcam reminding his delicate troops that Tucker thinking pregnant women aren’t ideal fighting machines “is based off of actually zero days of serving in the armed services.”

So what does this have to do with corporate media? Reporters, in unison, chased the ball. And like that, just one day after the Pentagon (or someone at it) leaked the classified report showing the Chinese military dominating the United States in a Pacific war game, the news cycle changed to “Tucker Carlson Bad.”

Throw the ball and they’ll chase it. It’s a good trick. President Donald Trump knew it well, if he played it differently.

But that’s not all! This week also marks the Biden administration setting a record as the longest a president has gone without a press conference in an entire century. So do reporters even need a ball to chase? As we saw on the campaign trail and as we read Friday morning, the answer is no. While easily distracted from actual news, our corporate media is also perfectly content with, perfectly skilled at, perfectly shameless over crafting their new president’s propaganda for him basically regardless of what he says. The only question is, are you listening?


Alpha Male Elon Musk Reminds Politicians Just How To Talk To Reporters

A lot of politicians and businessmen don’t understand that the press only has so much power as we give them. If people don’t trust corporate media — if people don’t respect them — then they don’t have much power at all.

Reporters in particular don’t seem to understand this give and take. By and large, reporters think of themselves as very important, very noble people putting their lives at risk to save American democracy in between brunch dates. Close your eyes and you can almost see chubby little Washington Post journos dramatically whipping their bangs out of their eyes as they whisper: “Democrathy dythe in darkneth.”

Elon Musk gets it, though. When a Washington Post reporter emailed him for comment on a story on how investors are worried he is stretched too thin — a story the reporter almost certainly finished writing before bothering to reach out — Musk replied, “Give my regards to your puppet master.”

“Puppet master” refers to Jeff Bezos, the book-burning, dissent-crushing, Main St.-wasting, China-loving left-wing billionaire who owns The Washington Post. And “alpha” refers to Elon Musk, who just perfectly demonstrated how to respond to a hostile and dishonest corporate media no matter the story.

I admit I was once very skeptical of Musk. SolarCity was a disaster for the American taxpayer. Teslas are cool if you have subsidies and like screens a lot, but they won’t do you much good when the bombs drop. And then one day, while I was in the middle of an important conversation, I found myself somehow distracted by a television in the background showing a space shuttle returning to land on the Earth. That was the day I stopped rolling my eyes at that electrical man from Pretoria, even if his technology will destroy us all someday.

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Now compare landing space ships to the world of news journalism I joined a bit over a decade ago, where laziness and based stupidity go hand in hand with self-importance.

It’s a profession where it’s noble to print private neighborhood texts and take photographs of children to get just one more scoop on the already known story of Sen. Ted Cruz going Mexico, yet a story about Gov. Andrew Cuomo killing thousands of your parents in your own state is ignored until President Joe Biden can be safely elected.

It’s a world where Brian Stelter feels comfortable talking about how he “crawled into bed and cried,” where journalists think covering Trump was “thrilling in the way that I imagine storming Omaha Beach must have been,” where Brian Williams smiles and waves to a crowd at a Ranger’s game while the jumbotron tells the completely fake story of that time he was super brave and his helicopter was shot down in Iraq.

It’s a place where The New York Times can print falsehood after falsehood about President Donald Trump, and where its reporters can proudly claim credit for starting deadly race riots, while the editor in chief claims Trump “puts [reporters’] lives at risk” by calling “them names.”

It’s a field that builds the “Newseum,” a massive monument to its own importance, while executives and board members pay themselves millions to run the place into the ground.

It’s an industry owned by men like Jeff Bezos.

It’s a thing that doesn’t deserve your respect.


Decades Before The Civil War, Lincoln Saw An Approaching Storm. Every American Should Read His Warning

To a hall filled with young men on a cold Illinois night in January 1838, Abraham Lincoln delivered his earliest recorded public remarks.

For the 50 years prior, the living rooms, parlors, and public offices of our country had been teeming with the brave Americans who’d fought, struggled, and suffered to create these United States. “Nearly every American,” Lincoln recalled, “had been a participator in some of its scenes.”

But now that generation was dying off. What no invading army could, time, he lamented, had itself accomplished: “They were a forest of giant oaks; but the all resistless hurricane had swept over them, and left only, here and there, a lonely trunk… to combat, with its mutilated limbs, a few more ruder storms, then to sink, and be no more.”

Without their life experience, he realized, his was the first generation of Americans tasked with upholding their fathers’ noble experiment simply by the strength of their own virtues. This, he warned, would be very difficult.

As he looked around him, at both slave states and their northern neighbors, he saw and feared the evil of swelling mobs not merely for their unfortunate victims, but for our national tolerance of their violence and misrule — and the effect this shrugging of shoulders and murmuring of approval or disapproval would have on patriotic and unpatriotic men alike.

The incidents weren’t always seemingly connected by cause. A group of gamblers hanged; a mixed-race murderer burned alive; black men suspected of planning insurrection, and then white men suspected of sympathizing, and then simply out-of-state strangers caught in the middle of swelling hate. But beyond their brutality, the young lawyer feared these mobs were connected for the lawlessness they embodied — and the idle familiarity with which his fellow Americans seemed to accept these incidents.

While the 1830s mobs “hang gamblers, or burn murders,” he cautioned, tomorrow’s mobs would hang and burn the innocent — “and thus it goes on, step by step, till all the walls erected for the defense of the persons and property of individuals, are trodden down, and disregarded.”

While after January 2021’s Capitol riot we’ve all seen the ruthless efficiency with which our government is capable of cracking down on lawlessness, we too saw the summer before, when months of attacks on federal officers, politicians, police, private homes, courthouses, and innocent bystanders met calculated indifference and shrugged excuses for “historic racial injustices.”

This too, was well familiar to Lincoln, who knew the mob will go further and spread deeper, warning, “by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become, absolutely unrestrained.”

“On the other hand,” he predicted, “good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a Government that offers them no protection; and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose.”

Combined, he warned, these seemingly opposing feelings come to one terrible conclusion: “the strongest bulwark of any Government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed — I mean the attachment of the People.”

To ensure that the fading “scenes of the revolution are [not] now or ever will be entirely forgotten,” Lincoln prescribed “in history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the Bible shall be read.”

Yet today at The Washington Post, New York Times, and at the top of our government, the privileged and ignorant children of our country tell Americans our experiment is tainted, our Revolution was for evil, our Civil War was not enough. They demand reparations through re-education, racist quotas, kneeling subservience, and crude offerings of money. Neither the honored dead of the Revolution nor the lives of 300,000 Yankee boys lying stiff in Southern dust will appease them — they want more than the blood of our countrymen.

To “fortify against” the mob, Lincoln also prescribed an American “political religion” rested on law, order, morality, and reason, yet today’s revolutionaries reside at the very height of our government, inclined to rule toward the same terrible ends the newspapers, college professors and street activists demand. While we all agree the mob’s attack on the Capitol was intolerable, many claim that mobs of Black Lives Matter and Antifa members occupying and burning our cities are less wicked, justified by some imaginary historic cause.

Black separatism, the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center claimed Thursday, is no longer born of hate, but “out of valid anger against very real historical and systemic oppression.” Lincoln, however, knew “there is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.”

Just more than two decades after his remarks, Lincoln was president. His office was characterized by a stunning bravery, as well as the very principles he called for in 1838 — “general intelligence, sound morality and, in particular, a reverence for the Constitution and the laws.”

Treading carefully but boldly between Southern sympathizers and abolitionist radicals, the man who in 1838 lamented the passing of our Founding Fathers would as president write the end of their page in history, uniting once and for all the truths espoused in our Declaration of Independence with the laws laid out in our Constitution.

For a century, Lincoln’s story was derided and dismissed by Southern apologists seeking to strike his place in history for the fantasies they preferred. Today, his story is derided and dismissed by racists and radicals of different politics, working hard to undo the political religion he cemented, and to strike his place in history for their own preferred fantasies.

Today, on Abraham Lincoln’s 212th birthday, Americans must remember his life, his deeds, his sacrifice, and the lives, deeds, and sacrifices of all who came before and after him in the service of these United States. If we cannot quickly return to the vision they fought and died for, heed the warnings of 1838, and remember the lessons of our Revolution and Civil War, we are just as sure to lose our country as ever before.


The Occupation Of Washington Is Pure Panic Porn — And You Are The Target

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Guard have been in D.C. for three weeks now.

Fences, military trucks, and armored vehicles crisscross our roads and neighborhoods. Major traffic arteries through the city have been closed. Concertina razor wire surrounds our noble government buildings.

Originally called to secure the Capitol building from attackers, the Guard never left. By Inauguration Day, some newspaper reports put the number of uniformed troops deployed to the city at more than 25,000. Bridges were shut down, highway exits blocked, gates raised.

When asked, police and Guardsmen on the ground privately shared the belief they were here to stay. Soon, reports began to leak that indeed they would — through President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. Just this week, we learned that thousands of Guardsmen could remain “indefinitely.”

If this seems theatrical and excessive, it’s because it is. Worse yet, it’s about politics, not security, with the same politicians who claimed Antifa violence against their voters was a “myth” now insisting they need a full division of troops to defend them from a rebel army that doesn’t exist.

For months last year the American people endured hundreds of race riots, anarchist crime sprees, and literal occupations. As this lawlessness raged, calls to deploy federal forces were treated as if they were calls for fascism. When Sen. Tom Cotton published a New York Times op-ed in June calling to send in the U.S. Army — as Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and H.W. Bush had done to quell civil disorder before — readers and Times staffers rebelled, leading to the resignations of the editorial page editor and a senior editor with him.

In its scramble to apologize, the paper attached a 325-word mea culpa to the top of the op-ed. The senator’s call to restore order with U.S. forces “falls short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate,” the new editors charged. The cited constitutional duty to defend states, they claimed, should have been put into quotation marks. Cotton’s assertion that Antifa was a leader in the nationwide riots, they wrote in perhaps the most laughable portion, has “not been substantiated.”

When President Donald Trump ordered Guardsmen into the capital following nights of Black Lives Matter-inspired rioting, Maryland Sen. Chris van Hollen called it “an affront to our Constitution.” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser “formally requested” they be withdrawn, and made them move to new rooms and hotels, declaring that the city would not “pay their hotel bills.”

Continuing the troop-bashing, in July Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi compared the federal officers defending the Portland Federal Courthouse against weeks of nightly Antifa rioting (with 140 officers injured throughout the siege) to Nazi “stormtroopers.” And on and on and on.

Yet on Jan. 20, the nation watched as a Democratic president was sworn into office before an empty National Mall surrounded by a division of uniformed soldiers ostensibly there to hold back the army of Klansmen and neo-Nazis waiting just over the river to invade our nation’s capital and sack its government.

Fear and distrust is already dangerously high in our country — and both are rising.

Local leaders, empowered with COVID hysteria, tell ordinary citizens to inform on their neighbors. Major newspapers join social media in lauding children who turn in their parents.

Earlier this year, as lockdowns dragged on and Black Lives Matter riots intensified and spread nationally, once-calm Americans began to stockpile ammunition and coordinate emergency escape routes with their close friends. The reactions to these inputs, panicked though some might have been, weren’t surprising given the outside forces driving them.

The Jan. 6 Capitol riots were an ugly, deadly, and tragic but ultimately isolated incident, spurred on by liberal toleration of political violence, Trump’s refusal to accept the loss, and corporate media’s open scorn of half the country and their legitimate election concerns. Democratic politicians took those riots and used them to reverse political course and order the complete militarization of downtown Washington, intentionally spreading the fear and distrust deeper into America in an effort to make their point.

A once-calm relative, one Marine officer candidate told me this week, drew up waypoints to evacuate his family from their suburban community far outside Washington. MAGA insurrection, he feared, might be camped in the woods nearby.

This behavior might also seem panicked to calmer minds, but it’s neither isolated nor unexpected given how hard our leaders have worked to spread it. And make no mistake: They know as well as any other reasonable person in Washington that 25,000 troops and razor wire aren’t needed, but protection isn’t the goal here — the occupation of Washington is a massive undertaking in panic porn. The fear we see in the capital is simulated even if it is exciting. It’s also ugly, and it obscures the truth.

Poorly trained Capitol Police officers and a Democratic mayor and House that declined security reinforcements don’t make the rioters who attacked the Capitol a marching rebel army, as we’ve seen in the weeks since when the televised theater spread to state capitals only to end with more reporters than protesters on the much-touted day of attack. Similarly, keeping the capital under military occupation while the former opposition leader is put on trial isn’t necessary for national healing, as Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer now insists.

None of this matters to the leaders in Washington: Not walling themselves from the public they serve, nor spreading even more fear and distrust among their supporters than already existed. What matters is that the Democrats and the troops be seen as the only things standing between America and a Ku Klux MAGA apocalypse.

Longtime D.C. residents and experienced frequent flyers might think all this sounds foggily familiar. Indeed, like the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue and other “temporary security measures” following Sept. 11, the permanence of the Jan. 6 security state might echo longer than the loudspeaker recording that “unticketed passengers are no longer permitted in the terminal boarding area” — a temporary announcement entering its third decade this year.

Just as in the aftermath of the terrible Sept. 11 attacks, many of the indignities we’ve been subjected to are pure security theater. Unlike the aftermath of those attacks, however, the people the theater is meant to frighten off aren’t foreign terrorists — they’re you and me.


The Ultimate Irony: How A Threatened Swamp Fulfilled Trump’s Doomed Dream To Crack Down On Riots

WASHINGTON — For six months, President Donald Trump pushed for a harsher crackdown on the riots raging across the United States, facing constant pushback from officials worried that would further inflame the chaos and lead to needless death. As Joe Biden takes the oath of office and Trump exits Washington, the outgoing president’s dream is finally realized — ironically, too late to change a thing.

Over the past week, somewhere between 15 and 25,000 troops have taken to the streets of Washington. Together with the police, they have formed an approximately 11-mile perimeter around the president-elect and members of Congress, even blockading the bridges to Virginia (although it’s unclear what happens if the rebel army takes the open roads from Maryland). Checkpoints are manned, guardsmen are vetted, and panicked “insurrection” disinformation is bandied about the corporate media like so many sparkles in the wind.

This is what a state of emergency looks like. Except when it isn’t.

This is not what it looked like in the streets of Kenosha, where rioters terrorized residents and business owners for four straight nights. Nor is it what it looked like in the streets of Chicago, where police drew up the bridges to the once-glittering Magnificent Mile.

Twenty-five thousand troops did not descend on St. Louis, where four policemen were wounded and retired Police Chief David Dorn was gunned down. Little help came for the 140 federal officers who were injured while the federal courthouse was besieged in Portland, Oregon.

The ironies of Inauguration Day’s show of force stack high. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for example, thanked Guardsmen for their “commitment to our American democracy” during a recent photo-op — just six months after she called called federal agents fighting the courthouse riots “unidentified stormtroopers” whose actions shamed “a democratic republic.”

The New York Times reported unblinkingly on the number of Guardsmen in the Capitol just eight months after Editorial Page Director James Bennet and his deputy were forced to resign for running a senator’s call to “send in the military” to restore order.

The most striking of all ironies is the one befalling our outgoing president. Unable to convince his deputies to clamp down on disorder while in power, he now leaves a city occupied to cheers in honor of his successor (and his successor’s army).

Law and order is an issue Trump campaigned on. The elites, he told voters, have walls and security yet seek to take guns and police protection away from the citizenry. He was right. Yet, since late May, America has been subjected to images of burning cities and besieged federal officers while accusations of fascism blow forth like bubbles from media and Democratic microphones. Law and order, it seems, this administration was not.

The long fight between Trump, who demanded a muscular federal response to the unrest, and his top advisers, led by Attorney General Bill Barr, is documented in a Monday article by Johnathan Swan:

From his seat behind the Resolute Desk, an agitated Trump told Barr to go and do something, and to do it right away — make an announcement, send in the troops, something. Just go in and resolve it, the president ordered. He wanted a devastating and provocative show of strength.

Barr disagreed. He thought the heat in the protests was gradually easing. He explained law enforcement strategy and his opinion that military intervention would backfire. Federal investigators were already hunting for the ringleaders in the protests.

Barr was mainly concerned the troops would have two choices: act (and people might die) or stand down (and authorities would look weak). Neither, he believed, was desirable.

His concerns were not foolish ones. Antifa and Black Lives Matter intentionally provoke authorities, seeing it as win-win for their cause. If no reaction comes, it shows the rioters are in charge. If authorities execute a crackdown, the riot’s leaders bet they can use the crackdown to prove the police are oppressing them; and there’s little doubt deploying force would have led to death.

But when riots go unpunished, violence reigns anyway. Between George Floyd’s death and Election Day, 25 American lives were extinguished in the chaos.

Over those six months, the rioters (or are they insurrectionists now?) attacked the White House, federal courthouses, police stations, a U.S. senator, and a mother trying to drive home with her child, and even killed an eight-year-old. Corporate media did their part, romanticizing it all as a “protest for racial justice.”

All that romance and talk of fascism ended with the Jan. 6 riot, when more than half a year of political street violence culminated in a right-wing assault on the U.S. Capitol.

While the sergeant at arms and Democrat mayor of D.C. had turned down repeated requests for National Guard reinforcements, they escaped blame for the the Capitol Police’s ineptitude in repelling the deadly riot, and tearful BLM rioters took to the airwaves to talk of how their crime sprees were oppressed while the MAGA rioters were treated with kid gloves. Nevermind the dead woman or the dozens of nationwide arrest warrants issued after Jan. 6 — if the rioters had been black, activists claimed, even more would be dead.

As tens of thousands of soldiers deployed to protect Biden, the media applauded, Pelosi took pictures, and Washington was pleased with itself. This, you see, was an emergency. Now they could be normal.

It’s easy to imagine the law-and-order women of the suburbs who abandoned the president’s re-elect in droves nodding along in contented agreement at capital streets cleared of “insurrection.” The Capitol was no mere White House or courthouse, no private business or loving grandfather left to bleed out in the street. This was a sacred symbol of America, and Biden will protect it for us.

It’s a pity it took an attack on America’s elites in their own offices to finally get here. The inauguration — and its participants — might look very different if Trump’s orders had been carried out in the first place.


Pilgrims, Totalitarians, And Babies: A Conversation With Hillsdale College’s Larry Arnn

Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript from a recent episode of The Federalist Radio Hour with Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, for the 1620 Project. The conversation has been edited for clarity.

John Daniel Davidson: Welcome to another edition of the Federalist Radio Hour. I’m your host, John Davidson, political editor at The Federalist, and I’m joined today by Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, which I should say at the outset, full disclosure, is my alma mater—class of 2004. Dr. Arnn, welcome to the program today.

Larry Arnn: Great to be with you, John.

JDD: We’re going to talk about The Federalist’s 1620 Project, which we launched just before Thanksgiving, a series of essays, podcasts, interviews, and articles about the landing at Plymouth Rock, about the Pilgrims, the Mayflower Compact, and really the beginning of the American story. Dr. Arnn, I wanted to have you come on and talk to us about that, not just because Hillsdale College has played, especially in recent years, such a big role in reviving the ideas and the spirit of the American Founding, but also because we’re living in a time when the spirit of the American founding in the mainstream culture is not necessarily something to revere, or something that’s considered salutary, but as maybe something that we should apologize for. So maybe we can just begin there. And the obvious comparison to our 1620 Project would be the New York Times’ 1619 Project. If you could maybe just start off our discussion with a comment about the distinction between the frame of the 1619 Project and something like our 1620 Project.

LA: Well, the 1619 Project is an exercise in despotism of the kind described in the novel “1984.” Their initial position was they discovered the true key to the American Founding. But it turns out that claim is nonsense on its face, as was proved by the very noble efforts for example of Gordon Wood, a very distinguished historian. And so now their position is that was a posture that they took to affect the present. And the whole thing in “1984” is that the past is malleable, and we can use the past, the past is in our control. What is the doctrine of the Big Brother regime? “He who controls the present controls the past, and he who controls the past controls the future.” So you know, this temper is evident everywhere in America. Scholarship, academic things, you’re supposed to begin by looking at the thing that you’re trying to understand and gain a better understanding. Journalism is supposed to be the story of the day, what happened today—as it truly happened. So we now are all in a contest, who can be powerful? The purpose of the New York Times’ project, on its face, is to exercise and influence a power on the future. Not to tell a truth about the past.

JDD: That’s right. It strikes me as fundamentally political, not historical. It’s not really related to the purposes of journalism, but it’s also not really related to the purposes of history, because it is fundamentally a political project and is concerned, like much of the left, with power, as you say. That’s not what we’re trying to do. And as our publisher, Ben Domenech, noted in our opening 1620 introductory essay, the purpose of the 1620 Project isn’t to refute the 1619 Project, because the 1619 Project is self-refuting, and has already been repudiated by its own creators after getting push-back. They sort of walk back their claim that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery, which is ridiculous and was called out by many historians as such.

But that leaves us with the 1620 Project and the importance of 1620. And I wanted to talk to you especially about the interplay or the correct understanding of 1620 together with 1776, the nation’s Founding. I think that we have to look back to the Mayflower Compact, and we have to look back to those first Pilgrims who arrived in 1620 as the start of an American project, as a nascent American project, but that our true founding as a nation belongs to and will always be 1776. Maybe you can comment on the interplay and the relationship between these two momentous dates and how they affect one another.

LA: Well the Declaration of Independence is of course a culmination, a beautiful culmination, of 150 years of learning on the new continent. The Mayflower Compact is arguably the first deliberate act, let us say, act of legislation, of common policymaking in the New World. And it’s extremely telling. I like to say that if you want to understand the American Revolution you have to watch the great old westerns, because they’re always the same—like “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” one of the best of them. There are two things in that town that contend for authority: a law book and a gun, and the town is incapable of producing either. They brought it with them, right? And so it never happened before in history, and it actually can’t happen again, that a highly developed civilization would pick up and move to a new place. And they didn’t bring much of the stuff with them, they brought the knowledge with them. And the Mayflower Compact is a wonderful microcosm of the knowledge they brought. So the two main things are religion and moral philosophy. And the Mayflower Compact is expressive of those two things, and beautifully so.

JDD: Why did they pick up and go, though? You know this is something that I think a lot of people, in the era of the 1619 Project, the only plausible reason for the Pilgrims to pick up and leave a highly developed civilization in Europe would be to come to America and commit genocide against the Native inhabitants, or to act out their dominion over the earth and over all other peoples in a founding act of white supremacy. And that is literally how the Pilgrim story is taught in universities and high schools, and probably at this point in elementary schools as well. But there are other reasons for picking up and coming to the New World, and I wonder if you might comment on what those might have been and why Europe was not a place where something like the Mayflower Compact could be written and signed, and something like the Declaration of Independence also could not arise.

LA: Well the Mayflower Compact pays homage to King James, which monarch would not let them do that on English soil. The whole idea was establishing a government by compact, by agreement among some people. And that’s both a broadly Christian idea and a Protestant idea—well it’s three things—and a precept in moral philosophy that had all developed. Christianity has an interesting posture toward government. It’s a universal religion that explicitly, by the words of the founder, does not establish a kingdom. And that means kingdoms, to be just, have to protect the practice of Christianity. And that means religious freedom, in fact limited government itself, is born chiefly in the realization over time of this particular significance of Christianity.

So that’s the first thing. That’s just broadly, that’s what it is, right? It’s very different from the religion of the Spartans. It’s very different from the religion of the Persians. It’s very different from the religion of the Jews. So there’s that. And then, these people are Protestants. And what’s going on in Protestantism is the idea that we come together as volunteers to form a society, to seek our salvation. And that is the religious parallel of the mechanism of government-by-consent that’s one of the main precepts of the Declaration of Independence. And so these people had worked all this out by the time they left for left Holland for America.

And they came for that, right? If you just read the record—and see, if you’re a serious student of anything, if you stop and look at anything, you’ll find out that there’s an awful lot of candor in the world. So like, if you want to know what Hitler thought you can find out by reading Hitler, he tells us what he thought. Same thing with Stalin, right? They’re liars and cheats and murders on a mass scale. And yet they say what they’re up to. So the point is, the Mayflower Compact, it says what it’s up to. And indeed it’s a dramatic document because there was divisions among the people on the boat, and they’d already had a hard time and getting ready to have a worse time. And so they thought the way to maneuver through this was for us all to reach an agreement how we’re going to behave. And that’s awesome, right? That’s freedom, that’s compact. And so under pressure they repair to that. That’s where they think safety and efficacy lie. And that’s deep, right? It’s marvelous.

And you don’t really get things like that in the ancient world. Because religion was different, and philosophy was different in some ways, some ways the same. And then if you think of the unfolding of America, it’s all implicit in that set of arrangements. The doctrine of equality is not in there except implicitly—but powerfully implicitly, because they all have to sign it. And the point is, get everybody together. And the people who were on the boat who were not Puritans, they called them Strangers. And they were very concerned about them because they needed their help, but they wanted them to behave properly, and were prepared to behave properly towards them. And so they make a compact with them. And that’s very powerful.

JDD: And it strikes me, too, that this is not the kind of thing that we saw, or could have seen, in the Europeans who came to different parts of the New World. The development of European civilization in the Americas that was started by Catholics, that was started in Catholic Spain, in New Spain, in what is now Mexico and Central America.

The culture and the institutions that developed were not built on this idea that you have to get everybody together and that you have to have a compact, they were the exportation of authoritarian, absolute monarchical rule from Europe to this new place. And it produced completely different institutions, so that 150 years later when the American Founding was taking place and the seeds that were planted by the Mayflower Compact were coming to fruition, in places like Mexico and Central America, there were very different things afoot. And not just in the 18th century, but all the way into the 19th century, you had absolute monarchy contending with revolutionary insurgencies that didn’t follow the American pattern at all. And now today you have, on the same continent, over a shared border, completely different societies based on completely different sets of ideas about what government should be and how we should arrange our lives together. And that is a very powerful thing, I think, when you think about the ripple effects of something as simple maybe as the Mayflower Compact as opposed to the declarations made by Spanish conquistadores when they landed on the coast of Mexico or Central America.

LA: I think first of all just ask the simple question, who’s on the boat? So the Spanish, they sent men, you know? A bunch of men, alone, is an essentially dysfunctional society. And so they had priests and soldiers. And the English sent families. They called them plantations, and then they could grow and become self-sufficient because of that. In fact, the survival of Plymouth colony was rooted in the fact that they were disciplined by the need to defend their loved ones. And then they could go, right? So I mean, it’s really great because the English did send one big bunch of men that landed in Roanoke, and they settled down, built a fort, and went off, left a note, went off into the country, they’re going to go explore, and they were never heard from again.

And that’s because it’s just a bunch of men, and that won’t work. And so it gives an entirely different direction and foundation, just that. And see it meant that it was not an evangelical or a military operation (or both). That’s something different than founding a city, and it’s a less comprehensive set of aims. So it’s completely different. I think I’ve been told, I don’t really know, that most of the people in Mexico are descended from the people who lived there when the Europeans came, but most of the people in North America are descended from immigrants. And I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it stands to reason if it’s true.

JDD: That’s right, because the Spanish weren’t really founding a society. They didn’t come to create a polity, they came to conquer and to extract riches as best they could. And that was reflected not just in their initial contact with the Natives of Central America and South America and Mexico, but in the institutions that they developed, the rancheros, the societies built around a boss, and patronage. You know these are things that still exist in Mexico today, these social systems. They may be informal now, but they still exist. And they resonate—they have resonated down the centuries in the same way that our systems, founded by in part by the Pilgrims and later by the Founders, resonate today.

But I wonder, in our current moment in American history, where we have this kind of revolution taking place, an intellectual revolution, certainly, taking place about what America should be, about what it was but really about what it should be, if we are not trying to recreate in a modern twenty-first-century context, the kind of patronage systems that would have been alien to the Pilgrims, certainly would have been alien to the Founders, but would have been right at home in New Spain, among the conquistadors and the societies that they ruled in the New World.

LA: Yeah, certainly. What we’re developing now is more like those other Europeans settlements in America than it’s like the pilgrims. But you have to remember this terrible difference. It’s the same thing as the difference between ancient tyranny and totalitarianism. The introduction of the power of modern science, which is of course the most powerful, possible means, but it’s a means that’s construed to be an end. The purpose of technology is the use and production of technology. And that means that that we become subjects of an engineering project. And, you know, the priests who came, the Catholic priests who came to convert the existing inhabitants, well you know, they may have done some wrong, but their purposes were ultimately charitable, and were understood to be the completion of the life of people, and that their own life was completed in the same way.

Whereas the masters of technology, they look at us as something to move and manipulate. They think they can perfect society. And just think, you know the reasons for things are always influential in how they play out. So the reason for those Mexican and Central American and South American settlements, the reason for it was to convert people to God and go find some gold. Well, to convert people to God, that’s a concern for those people, right? But if you launch yourself into utopian world—I’m full of this stuff right now because I just taught a class on totalitarian novels and I read a bunch of them, and you know, they’re horrific and true. And so the thing is, that thing, and I think the New York Times thing, kindly meant of course, I think it is expressive of that thing.

In 1984 the protagonist is Winston Smith, named by George Orwell for Winston Churchill. And his job is to sit all day long with thousands of other people and rewrite the past—every book, every article, every magazine, every encyclopedia, everything in the library. If the party changes its opinion about anything, if it changes its opinion about with whom we’re at war, then everything is immediately rewritten. And that means the past is flowing past like a river. And that means—and see, it is a profound and terrible novel, that becomes explicit in the end, in the culmination of the novel. And it’s the only philosophic seminar I know conducted under torture. But in the end, O’Brien, the representative of the big state, he tortures Winston and teaches him. And what he teaches him is that nothing is real. And the strongest proof of that is that the past itself is not only not real, it takes its reality from what I say, from my will, from the will of the party.

And so I think the New York Times’ [1619 Project], I think that’s what that is. In other words, those people, they’re high-minded, fine people, but they want to have an effect upon us. And so they’re prepared to malign. Because I mean, it just doesn’t work. Where are the documents that show that the purpose of the European settlement of North America was to extend slavery? Because they don’t exist. And of course they don’t exist, because it wasn’t the purpose.

You know, it is true by the way that it happened in American history, it happened sometime between 1787 and 1800. We know this because the Northwest Ordinance is in 1787 and it forbids all slavery, and that was a general agreement by the whole Union in the new territory. And the Northwest Territory, by the way, was given by Virginia on the motion of Thomas Jefferson, and on condition there be no slavery. But then 1800 comes and you have to have the Missouri Compromise for the Union to grow again, because now they’re concerned about keeping the numbers the same, the ratio between slave and free, the same. And that means somewhere, slavery gained some support. And come to find out John C. Calhoun, the great disciple of all that, was a friend of a man named Francis Lieber, at Yale. And Lieber was a descendant of and connected to the people around Friedrich Hegel. And he taught them the doctrines of history.

And that’s what dominates the New York Times today, see. What those doctrines say is, you can read them in either of two ways. You can read that there’s an historical process that places us at odds with each other, it’s going somewhere and eventually we’ll have the end of the process and leap into freedom. Or you can say that it has made some of us into masters and others of us into slaves—that’s Hitler, and John Calhoun. The point is that got into America somewhere, but it didn’t come with the first settlers.

And so to understand that, I mean if you really want to do something about oppression, you need to learn the principles that establish it being wrong, and you need to learn the arguments and principles that assert that what’s right. And you need to get those accurate, right? You need to go, unlike the New York Times, both Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas say, “This alone is denied even to God: to make what has been not to have been.”

JDD: Your mention of Calhoun reminds me that my first reaction to the 1619 Project was a column that argued the ghost of John C. Calhoun is haunting the American left, and that the American left today are the true inheritors of Calhoun’s political philosophy, that Calhoun was the one who hated the Constitution, who wanted to find a way around it, who thought that the Founders were wrong. And he said so, he said so plainly, that it cannot be true that all men are created equal. And so he came up with his theory of the concurrent majority and all these other ideas to get around the Constitution. And it seems to me he was a kind of founding father, if you will, of progressivism. You know, people talk about Woodrow Wilson as the founder of modern progressivism, but the intellectual roots and philosophical roots, it seems to me, stretch back to Calhoun.

LA: Calhoun is—people who haven’t read the “Disquisition on Government” should read it in order to be able to brag that they did cause it’s a hell of a mess. But there’s a line in it that shows what Calhoun really was. “It would be envious to think that God would give us the gift of modern science and permit us to use it for ill.” You see, he’s just a progressive. And it’s just explicit in this book, in various places, but that’s the clearest one. And so how can a man think—cause what the concurrent majority means is every law in every jurisdiction, including the national jurisdiction will be passed unanimously or not passed at all. And he thinks that can be made to work. There’s a man detached from reality, big time.

And, you know, very philosophic, and there were cool things about Calhoun. He inherited from his fathers, in the making of the American Union—which were not that long before him, by the way—he inherited the idea of a grand nation. But what went wrong was he added in the idea of a perfect nation. Master and slave, we are all aristocrats, we whites, because we own these blacks, right? We have our slaves. That makes us all aristocrats, even the ones who are not slaveholders. And you know, that was partly a political point because the slaveholders were not wonderfully popular with the poor people like my ancestors in the South who were competing with the slaves.

And that utopianism is a key thing. I mean, if you just see this Black Lives Matter stuff, and all that, “we have to make it right, right now.” And think of what we’re doing to the young people, right? If you know anything about the story of race in America, first of all, you know it’s a tragic story, also relieved by greatness, but it moves in three main long periods. And I’m leaving out of account the Civil War, which is the wrenching struggle to get rid of it, slavery. First there’s slavery, and that was bad. And then after, a time of liberation, and especially the efforts of Ulysses Grant, then Jim Crow. So we went into discrimination, right? And then, beginning in about 1960, but a movement for it longer than that, we went into the age of race preferences, which is just another word for discrimination. And so there’s never been a long sustained period in American history—except leading up to and just after the Civil War—where the idea of equal human rights for all was the dominating notion.

And that’s too bad, and I don’t even think that’s an accident. I think that’s a very hard principle to serve. And that means you’re between a rock and a hard place, because if it’s a hard principle to serve, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the right principle to serve. And so our history has always been a struggle toward this thing that we articulate. And we have long periods where we give up on this thing and try to do something easier. And that’s where the tragedies come. And the contemporary tragedy is, now we’re going to pick them by color, and advanced some and and debase others, to make it up for the wrongs done in the past. And we lose our individuality in that, for one thing. Because you know, I come from Arkansas. My family was blessedly poor. They never had a slave. And so, I stand in the same relation to slavery as John C. Calhoun under these principles that are taking over today.

JDD: And it seems easy if you want to sift through the American past for crimes and injustices, for people like Nicole Hannah Jones, the face of the 1619 Project, to go back to the beginning, to the landing at Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower Compact and say, well, this was only signed by men, only the white men signed this, and here we have evidence from the very moment that the Pilgrims set foot on American shores that they were establishing what she calls a society based on white supremacy—white male supremacy. And it seems to me that their project, the New York Times, but the left’s project more broadly, is at pains constantly to deny the overwhelming evidence that the American Founding, from the Mayflower Compact through to the Declaration and the Founding of the country, articulated these ideals and has worked arduously—in fits and starts, as you said—toward these ideals, toward fulfilling this great idea that all men are created equal, but that ideal wasn’t cynical, it wasn’t hypocritical when it was put down. In other words, the Founders were sincere when they said all men are created equal. It seems to me that for Hannah Nicole Jones and the New York Times and the left, it’s an obstacle that they are at pains to overcome, to convince people that the Founders were lying when the evidence seems overwhelming that they were not.

LA: Well, you know, the question of women is different from the question of race. So I grew up in the Hills of Arkansas. Everybody from Arkansas is my cousin. And I knew both my grandmothers. And my grandmothers, one of them had nine, one of them had eight children. And they basically worked on the farm night and day alongside their husbands. And they made a living, barely. And by the time the kids were grown it was getting time for them to die. And so that was life, for everybody. And it isn’t true that the man worked and the woman stayed at home. Home was the farm, and they all worked it, all the parts of it.

JDD: And that was most of America, for a long time.

LA: That’s right. Well, I think two-thirds of the people were farmers until well into the 20th century. And the tools that we use, that’s changed a lot of things. But this long legacy of “oppression”—you think my grandmothers didn’t get their way when they wanted it? And my mother, for sure, whom I knew very well? Or for that matter, my wife? We have a common project, my wife and me. And our project is to run our family and my career. And we both do that. And that is our career, the combination of those two things. That’s what we do together, and we both do both of them. Because, come to find out, human babies take a long time to raise—longer than other critters. And so it’s going to take devotion to them in the beginning, mostly by the mother, at least in the very beginning. And so the point is, you’re reducing human nature if you pretend that these biological facts are not facts.

Here’s a funny thing about Hillsdale College. We have just about the same number of men and women—a few more men, we are very rare in a liberal arts college. And they come in with exactly the same academic profile. And they do great, people do great here. But it is typical for the top ten students in a senior class, seven or eight of them to be girls. Now, why is that? Well, it’s not a difference in intelligence, I don’t think. I think it’s a difference in character. I explained it last term, because six of my favorite boys, ever, in all the many years I’ve been here, they get into a war with the dorm next door, throwing things that smell bad on each other. The key thing was deer urine. And I said it at commencement last summer, I said, why are girls dominating the top ten? And the answer is, they’re not throwing deer urine on each other.

So there’s a difference, right? And it’s not an intellectual difference. Today at lunch I was sitting with a bunch of girls and boys at a lunch table, and I often ask them what they’re going to do. And they’ve all got big plans. And the girls will sometimes say, “and I’m going to have children”—and the great majority of them intend to whether they say it or not. And I always say yeah, good for you. And good for you developing a career for yourself, too, because you’re likely to live a lot longer than the child-rearing years, and you will need something to do to make a contribution, to be a functioning human being, you need to do that. And you need to marry somebody who wants you to do that. And that’s just nature, right? And any evidence, like if you read the diaries and letters of Abigail Adams, that’s a tremendous woman. And she was tough as nails. And of course she was devoted to her husband. He was devoted to her. She’s the one who made that family work. And so, honor to her, one of the great figures of American history. And if it were modern times, things different now than they were then, I imagine she’d be a college professor or a college president. Because she’d be better than I am at either of those things, and probably better than her husband.

So I don’t know. I think if you if you set your face against the functioning of the family, which changes with time and is a relatively fluid thing and yet the basic relationships have been the same for as long as we know, right? If you set your face against that then you’ve undertaken an engineering project that’s going to meet a lot of violence to try to stamp that out. That’s what “Brave New World” is about. They don’t use violence, they just use overwhelming inducement to reduce people’s lives.

See, here’s another thing. If you raise a child, that’s a huge responsibility. That’s a bigger responsibility than anybody gets in his job. You know, me, anybody. And so, people should do that. For one thing, early in our lives and late in our lives, we’re helpless. And we need the ones in the middle of years to take care of us. And so if we stop having babies, there won’t be anybody. And so, the family is a domain that’s like a kingdom to the people who run it, husbands and wives and children. And that’s an expression of freedom and independence that everyone needs, however important their job is.

I mean—we were talking about it before we started this—I became a grandfather ten days ago, and there’s a six-pound baby living in my house right now (our daughter’s with us and her husband). And the thing is precious, you know, and tiny, and fragile. And it’s going to need a lot of help for a long time. But on the other hand, it’s going to go fast. And I like to say, when she turns two, a little before then, she’s going to start talking. And I like to say in my family, we have boxer dogs and children, and they all hear the same things but the children start talking and the dogs never do. But after they start talking, three months after that, they’re going to know everything in the world. They don’t even have to leave the house. You see? So the human soul is tremendous. It just takes years of cultivation for it to grow to be what it can be. And that point, that’s a duty that we have. Or we can live in “Brave New World” where everything is done for us and we have no serious work to do in our lives.

JDD: We’ve had conversations at The Federalist about this recently, that “Brave New World” in some ways was more prescient than “1984.” The world that we see emerging through big tech and through big government and through progressive leftist ideology, even in some cases explicitly stated by groups like Black Lives Matter, who inveigh against the nuclear family, but a world where there are not families forming, and there are not the responsibilities—the unchosen, in some cases, responsibilities that grounded people in families and in places and to one another in ways that lasted a long time.

So we have a kind of “Brave New World” today where the rulers, the governors and mayors, will impose a lockdown and assume that you’re okay with your weed and your Netflix, and to not worry about anything, that you’ll be taken care of. That seems to me to be much more a picture of the future—of our present—than “1984,” the totalitarian state with Big Brother watching over everything. In this case, Big Brother is a coddling brother. It’s a brother that wants you to not worry and not take on responsibilities—and certainly not to form families, because that is the number one threat to the state that is possible, those loyalties.

I guess we may have strayed away from the pilgrims a bit, but it’s all germane to the to the original point that that they came with families, and that says everything.

LA: We have that same argument around here all the time. And we read both those novels in this class I taught, and three or four others. First of all Aldous Huxley was a teacher of French to George Orwell at Eton college. And they had a correspondence about who was right. Is the despotism going to be pleasure or pain? And Huxley was very confident that he was right. And the same for Orwell. I think the ones who think that Huxley is right are optimistic, because society is not growing kinder. And we’re more and more ready to hurt people. And I don’t know how it’s going to go, but I think bad elements of both are possible.

JDD: That may very well may be. The signs are not good, and I think of the smashing of statutes, this fad of smashing statues. The smashing of statutes never stops with statues. After a while the mob gets tired of smashing statues and monuments and it moves on to people. And I think we saw maybe a little bit of that this spring and summer. And I fear that we’ll see more. And the only way to stop that is to hold fast to the principles and the ideas and the philosophies of the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration and the Constitution. And that’s why we’re doing the 1620 Project and why we wanted to talk to you. And maybe we’ll go out on that note if there’s a closing thought maybe you have on those subjects.

LA: Well, we have to have a revival of learning because we’re ignorant. I think these tense events that are going on are good for us, too. There’s a legislator who announced in the hearing of one of my colleagues that the governor was the rightful leader of the legislature, and that’s why she has the veto power. And, you know the ignorance of that is just awesome. But then, he was thinking about that because of the pressure of these events, and this was pointed out to him. In a less serious time, it wouldn’t never come up. He would have just floated through his life. And the person who heard this happened to be very knowledgeable about such things and explained to him the basic way that separation of powers works, which is the key part of the structure of American government. And it was like a revolutionary for thing for the guy. And, you know, they’re trying to figure out in the Michigan legislature, what to do about this pandemic and what to do about this election. And they’re thinking more seriously about that than I have known them to do in the past. And so I’m not doing it myself, but I know people who are helping them. And I’m pleased about that. In other words, there’s a lot of room for improvement, and there’s a lot of reason to want to make it these days.

JDD: Absolutely. Well, we’ll end on that optimistic note. We want to thank you, Dr. Arnn, for joining us. This has been another edition of the Federalist Radio Hour. I’m John Davidson, political editor at the Federalist, and until next time, be lovers of freedom and anxious for the fray.