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Zaid Jilani addresses NY Times defense of 1619 Project

Journalist Zaid Jilani responded on Monday to The New York Times’ Friday defense of its 1619 Project, saying internal “pressure” likely sparked the new statement.

Jilani told Hill.TV’s “Rising” he thinks the newspaper’s recent defense of the project came “from an internal kind of pressure” after the Times’ Bret Stephens criticized the project in an op-ed earlier this month. 

“It seems like there was kind of a unity of purpose among Times leadership to defend this series,” he said.

He cited The Washington Post’s reporting that the 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones reached out to Stephens and an editor before his op-ed was published to express her anger.

Jilani said that “ironically” the Times “kind of put her in this position in the first place because they failed to properly fact-check and edit the series before it went live,” with several historians pointing out inaccuracies, omissions and errors.

“I think this created an environment where basically The New York Times felt like it had to defend the project because of their own kind of mistakes,” he said.

On Friday, Jake Silverstein, the editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine, released a statement standing by the project.