Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich criticized the New York Times' new slavery initiative on Monday, calling the series "propaganda" and saying that "putting slavery in context is important."
Gingrich, who served as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1999, made the comments during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" just one day after "The New York Times Magazine" released the print version of its 1619 Project.
The project, launched on the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship's arrival in America, aims to "reframe the country's history, [understand] 1619 as our true founding, and [place] the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are."
Gingrich disagreed with the project's interpretation of history, saying on TV Monday that "the whole project is a lie."
"Look, I think slavery is a terrible thing. I think putting slavery in context is important," Gingrich told "Fox & Friends" hosts. "We still have slavery in places around the world today, so we need to recognize this is an ongoing story. I think, certainly, if you are an African-American, slavery is at the center of what you see as the American experience. But, for most Americans, most of the time, there were a lot of other things going on."
"There were several hundred thousand white Americans who died in the Civil War in order to free the slaves," he added.
Gingrich, a former history professor, compared the New York Times to Pravda, the former Soviet Union propaganda newspaper. The day politician shared similar thoughts via his Twitter account on Sunday.
The NY Times 1619 Project should make its slogan “All the Propaganda we want to brainwash you with”.it is a repudiation of the original NY Times motto.— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) August 18, 2019
"The NY Times 1619 Project should make its slogan 'All the Propaganda we want to brainwash you with,'" Gingrich tweeted. "It is a repudiation of the original NY Times motto."
Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led the 1619 Project, responded directly to Gingrich's criticism Monday, saying that putting slavery in context was "exactly" what the project was doing.