Media Downplay, Ignore Serial Flaws Behind Hulu’s ‘The 1619 Project’

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Hulu has teamed with Oprah Winfrey for a fractured look at U.S. history, yet the truth-tellers in the media can’t seem to find much wrong with it.

Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jonest created The 1619 Project for the liberal New York Times in 2019, “reframing” American history through the lens of slavery. Her handiwork quickly drew criticisms from established scholars, plus one of its own pundits.

Times columnist Bret Stephens dubbed it a “thesis in search of evidence.”

Others were far less kind.

James Sweet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and head of the American Historical Association, slammed the “Project” as being “more concerned with contemporary social and political outcomes than understanding the actual past.”

A scathing letter from prominent critics hammered the “Project” in no uncertain terms.

These errors, which concern major events, cannot be described as interpretation or “framing.” They are matters of verifiable fact, which are the foundation of both honest scholarship and honest journalism. They suggest a displacement of historical understanding by ideology. Dismissal of objections on racial grounds — that they are the objections of only “white historians” — has affirmed that displacement.

Hannah-Jones later admitted some of her errors and vowed to address them in subsequent versions.

That didn’t prevent schools across the country from embracing its narratives. Nor did it stop Hulu from producing a multi-part docuseries based on the flawed vision, with help from Winfrey.

The 1619 Project” debuted on the Disney-owned platform late last month, bringing its warped sense of history to subscribers worldwide.

What happened next? Entertainment news outlets celebrated the series, diminishing or just ignoring the serial charges against its veracity. at least acknowledged the controversy behind the project, but it framed detractors as “conservatives” and led with President Donald Trump’s comments about the source material.

The casual reader came away convinced the “1619 Project,” both the written version and the Hulu series, nailed the historical truth. Its critics are just those crazy, MAGA uncles you disinvite to your Thanksgiving dinner.

Rolling Stone took one step further. The headline says it all: “Hulu’s ‘The 1619 Project’ Is the American History the GOP Wants Us to Forget”

Even National Geographic, which should know better, published a mash-note/interview with Hannah-Jones to promote the Hulu docuseries.

There’s little surprising here. 

Entertainment news outlets routinely look the other way when Hollywood projects attack a subject from a liberal viewpoint. One of the best recent examples is how critics nodded along at “The Comey Rule,” Showtime’s two-part miniseries that accepted, as gospel, the Russia collusion narrative.

Some critics found fault with the miniseries on technical grounds, but few (if any) did so by noting it was based on a pack of lies. Treating former FBI head James Comey, as played by Jeff Daniels,” as a truth-telling savior is a wild distortion of the truth.

And journalists ignored that hard reality.

Media outlets similarly salivated over “Justice,” the one-sided attack documentary against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The film bowed at the just-wrapped Sundance Film Festival, and journalists treated director Doug Liman’s comments with zero scrutiny or cynicism.

It’s how the system works. Biased news outlets run cover for biased TV and film projects, both parties giving the other cover.

This brand of misinformation isn’t just ignored. It’s celebrated.

Written by Christian Toto

Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of, the Right Take on Entertainment. He’s the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” and a lifelong Yankees fan. Toto lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two sons and too many chickens.

Follow Christian on Twitter at

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