Far-left MSNBC host Joy Reid spent a portion of her Thursday night show fawning over the controversial 1619 Project and its creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, calling her work “a phenomenal piece of journalism.” 

Reid focused much of the segment lamenting the decision by the University of North Carolina (UNC) board of trustees to deny Jones tenure amid criticism over the project, and railing against those who oppose teaching critical race theory in schools. It is unclear what exactly led to Hannah-Jones, who is joining the university’s journalism faculty, not getting tenure, but liberal journalists and faculty members have erupted over the decision as unfair.

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“The 1619 Project means different things to different people. For some, including myself, it’s a phenomenal piece of journalism challenging us to reframe U.S. history by centering the legacy of Black Americans, starting with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in 1619,” Reid said. “While for others, including many Republicans and one Florida blogger, it’s ideological poison, threatening to turn impressionable children against America.”

Reid went on to claim her creation of the project was the reason the UNC board of trustees decided to deny tenure to Jones. She then asked her guest, Columbia University professor Jelani Cobb, for his thoughts on the denial, while sarcastically referring to the project as “the most dangerous piece of journalism that’s ever been created in America.”

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Cobb joined along with Reid in fawning over Jones, listing her various accomplishments, such as a Pulitzer Prize for the project that was fiercely criticized by historians, and expressing his astonishment that she was instead offered a five-year teaching contract. 

“The reason she wouldn’t get tenure is because some conservatives are offended about the way that she’s doing journalism and history because she won’t do the sing-song, rose-colored glasses, America is perfect, in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue BS that has been taught. I don’t know what that says about this country and academia,” Reid said.

Later in the segment, Reid claimed, without evidence, that those on the right were trying to “chill” academic freedom and scare young journalists into not writing stories that make them feel uncomfortable about history because they could be punished for it. 

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According to The New York Times, the work on the 1619 Project, a series of essays that seeks to reframe American history around slavery and the contributions of black Americans, began in 2019 and is still an ongoing initiative. The project has been tied to the teaching of critical race theory in schools, and was included in a Department of Education proposal to provide grants surrounding the teaching of diversity and the effects of “systemic” inequality. 

Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.

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