News and Analysis

‘What Evidence Do You Have?’: Chris Wallace Throws Down With Nikole Hannah-Jones On CNN+

   DailyWire.com
CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 29: Debate moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace directs the first presidential debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first of three planned debates between the two candidates in the lead up to the election on November 3. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Former “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace got into a heated debate with “The 1619 Project” creator Nikole Hannah-Jones during her appearance on his new CNN+ interview show, “Who’s Talking To Chris Wallace?”

The two discussed a number of topics — even bonding briefly over their apparently similar feelings about ventriloquism.

But the conversation took a turn when Wallace brought up some of the claims Hannah-Jones made in “The 1619 Project” — particularly her assertion that the Greatest Generation had suppressed democracy for African Americans in the United States even as they had gone into battle during World War II to defend democratic ideals.

“‘Without the idealistic, strenuous, and patriotic efforts of black Americans, our democracy today would most likely look very different. It might not be a democracy at all. We like to call those who lived during World War II the Greatest Generation, but that allows us to ignore the fact that many of this generation fought for democracy abroad, while brutally suppressing democracy for millions of American citizens,’” Wallace quoted.

“Again, I am in no way minimizing our terrible racial legacy. But in some of these things, aren’t you overstating?” he asked.

“If you have half of the country, where it’s in some states majorities, in many other states pluralities, 25% of the population, 40% of the population cannot vote, have their vote violently suppressed, where they’re a single one-party, one-race rule in a region where about 30% of the population is black. Would you consider that democracy?” Hannah-Jones asked, turning the question back on Wallace.

Wallace pushed back, then, noting that there was once also a time when women did not have the right to vote in the United States, and Hannah-Jones argued that was not “democracy” either.

“But here’s where I take some objection. You’re talking about if you say the country that we were fighting for democracy overseas, and we were not living in, walking the walk, talking the talk at home, I completely agree with you,” Wallace continued. “But you specifically say the Greatest Generation brutally suppressing, many of this generation brutally suppressing democracy for millions of Americans. To me, and I think Tom Brokaw when he originally wrote the book, ‘The Greatest Generation,’ was talking about 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds who came out of the farm fields of the Midwest, who came out of ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn and South Philly and stormed the beaches of Normandy and and, you know, fought to defeat the most, the worst regime, I would argue in, in world history. And to say that they were 20, 30-year-olds, the country was brutally suppressing blacks, but the Greatest Generation wasn’t.”

“Well, they were,” Hannah-Jones objected.

“No, they weren’t, you’re telling me that a farm, that a kid coming off a farm in Indiana or a kid who came from Brooklyn, is was suppressing black people,” Wallace replied.

“So Indiana had the largest population of the Klan in the United States. The Klan was reached first in Indiana,” Hannah-Jones argued.

“I understand, but that wasn’t the 20-year-old kid who risked his life,” Wallace tried again, but Hannah-Jones interrupted: “You don’t think 20-year olds were in the Klan?”

“I didn’t think many of them were, no,” Wallace said.

“I mean, I don’t know what evidence you have of that,” Hannah-Jones protested.

“Well, what evidence do you have that they were, since you wrote it,” Wallace shot back.

Hannah-Jones said that she never claimed 20-year-olds were in the Klan, but Wallace pushed back: “You said many of this generation was brutally suppressing democracy for millions of Americans.”

“And that’s factually inaccurate how?” Hannah-Jones pressed.

“I’m just asking,” Wallace continued. “That’s a broad, a broad brush, that you’re willing to paint, the 20- and 30-year-olds who defended democracy, I’m not talking about the leaders. I’m not talking about the laws. I’m not talking about the country. I’m talking about the young people who risked their lives. For instance, on the beaches of Normandy, they were brutally suppressing African Americans.”

Hannah-Jones went on to argue that it wasn’t fair to draw a line and say that “the government was violently suppressing but everyone else, they weren’t. They were glorious.”

She pointed to the fact that, during World War II, the military was still segregated, adding, “This trying to parse off who gets guilt or who does not for our collective history — we have to be more honest about piercing that mythology not to destroy our country, but to, if we can honestly face who we are, then we can actually become the country that we want to be. But we can’t do that by suppressing the truth and to ask a black person whose view of the Greatest Generation was black people are getting lynched.”