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CNN is accused of trying to cancel Abraham Lincoln


CNN has been accused of producing ‘clickbait conspiracy theories’ over an article that questioned Abraham Lincoln’s stance on race.

The analysis, titled ‘Did black lives matter to Abraham Lincoln? It’s complicated’, was released on Sunday to coincide with a six-part documentary the network is airing about the former president.

It references several depictions of Lincoln in popular culture – a gay man, a vampire slayer, a guest star in a Star Trek episode – before tackling the question of whether or not the sixteenth president was racist.   

Eric Foner, a prominent US historian, said he has never called Lincoln racist but acknowledged that the former president ‘shared some of the prejudices of his time.’

‘Was Lincoln an anti-racist? No, not really. Was he an egalitarian in the modern sense? No,’ Foner told CNN.

‘Race was not a major concern of Lincoln. He didn’t think about race very much. To ask if he’s a racist is the wrong question. And if you ask the wrong question, you’re going to get the wrong answer.’  

CNN has been accused of producing ‘clickbait conspiracy theories’ over an article that questioned Abraham Lincoln’s stance on race. The analysis, titled Did Black lives matter to Abraham Lincoln? It’s complicated, was released on Sunday to coincide with a six-part documentary the network is airing about the former president 

But questions around Lincoln’s views on race have ‘intensified over the years,’ the article said, noting a growing interest among historians, activists and politicians in how Lincoln regarded black people and Native Americans.

The article pointed to protesters in Portland vandalizing a statue of Lincoln and a San Francisco school named after him changing its name.

It also said Lincoln told racist jokes, enjoyed minstrel shows and even once ‘floated an offer to the Confederates that would allow them to keep slaves until 1900 if they surrendered’ to the Union.  

The article also considered arguments against Lincoln being racist such as his accepting black clients in his law practice – unusual at the time – and his friendship with the abolitionist Frederick Douglas.

While the article said Lincoln ‘would have been cancelled on social media and likely run out of office’ if he was alive and tweeting today, it ultimately concluded that the former president’s greatness lay in his ‘contradictions and ambiguities’ along with his ability to listen to people he disagreed with and change his mind.  

Despite the analysis’ detailed attempt to interrogate Lincoln’s attitude on race, some have slammed CNN for even considering doing so in the first place. 

The article said questions around Lincoln's views on race have 'intensified over the years,' the article said, noting a growing interest among historians, activists and politicians in how Lincoln regarded Black people and Native Americans. Pictured: Protesters rally in response to the planned start of the trial of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin over the killing of George Floyd [File photo]

The article said questions around Lincoln’s views on race have ‘intensified over the years,’ the article said, noting a growing interest among historians, activists and politicians in how Lincoln regarded Black people and Native Americans. Pictured: Protesters rally in response to the planned start of the trial of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin over the killing of George Floyd [File photo]

Conservative satirist Tim Young accused CNN of perpetrating ‘clickbait conspiracy theories’ in the article in comments made to competitor Fox News.

‘CNN, whose ratings have been tanking since President Trump has left office, apparently believes that it needs a new boogeyman in order for people to tune in, so why not take a stab at calling Lincoln a racist if it makes the operation money,’ Young told Fox.

‘CNN is officially jumping the shark with this new take that Lincoln was a racist – which is the final nail in the coffin for them being able to call themselves a news organization – now they’re just clickbait conspiracy theories.

‘Anything for a buck, including calling the President who ended slavery racist. Way to prove why no one should ever believe a thing that’s ever on your network.’ 

Others took exception to the article’s headline – ‘Did Black lives matter to Abraham Lincoln? It’s Complicated’.

Dan McLaughlin, a writer for the National Review – tweeted that: ‘Describing the answer to this question as ‘complicated’ is a clear sign that the question itself is loaded with ideological assumptions.

‘Many Americans who sympathize with the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ do not share those assumptions.’  

While the article said Lincoln 'would have been cancelled on social media and likely run out of office' if he was alive and tweeting today, it ultimately concluded that the former president's greatness lay in his 'contradictions and ambiguities' along with his ability to listen to people he disagreed with and change his mind. Pictured: A statue of Lincoln at The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

While the article said Lincoln ‘would have been cancelled on social media and likely run out of office’ if he was alive and tweeting today, it ultimately concluded that the former president’s greatness lay in his ‘contradictions and ambiguities’ along with his ability to listen to people he disagreed with and change his mind. Pictured: A statue of Lincoln at The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

Dan Gainor, vice president of the Media Research Center, accused CNN of attempting to rewrite history.

‘This isn’t just historical revisionism. This is a complete rewrite of history by radicals who want to embrace the anti-American lunacy of The New York Times 1619 Project,’ Gainor told Fox News, referring to a long-form journalism project that describes itself as aiming to ‘reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative.’

Some right-wing figures, including former President Donald Trump, have criticised the Pulitzer-Prize-winning project. 

Gainor described revisionist history on Lincoln as ‘despicable,’ saying it comes from liberals who he said were ‘furious that he wasn’t as woke as some Marxist Harvard professor in 2021.’

‘He was a great man and those who try to tear him down will never do anything near as great.’



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