Number 21 - December 19, 2002
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is poetry in the flow of human events, if one can only figure out where
the verse begins and, thereby, catch the rhythm of it all. For months,
publishers Glen Ford and Peter Gamble delayed completion of their commentary,
Rightwing Forum: The grotesque devolution of a Black news program."
Created by Ford and Gamble 25 years ago, the syndication has since been
transformed into a propaganda showcase for the Right, featuring the
anti-Black rantings of Republicans Armstrong Williams and Niger Innis
and their slippery help-mate, host Juan Williams. NAACP Chairman Julian
Bond, who took over as host when the founders sold their shares in the
program in late1980, remains an ABF commentator and represents the progressive
window dressing on the GOP-dominated set.
Ford and Gamble
put off publishing their ABF broadside, week after week, in favor of
events that demanded immediate analysis. Then, Trent Lott found his
own, true voice. It was the perfect moment to turn on the lights at
the Republican Roach Motel that America's Black Forum has become. An
old friend and colleague read the piece, and remembered. Askia Muhammad
As a founding
panelist on ABF, who worked with Glen Ford right up until the last
moment on the show when Julian Bond came onto our raggedy old set,
I was shocked when I read this account. I know Niger Innis, and he
is all he's depicted to be in this account.
I only wonder,
why is Julian Bond still lending his substantial credibility to this
shill program? The money must be exceedingly good (or necessary) for
1. I caution that
none of us get too alarmed when there are right-wing coup-d'etats
of our media, and not be alarmed when there are left-wing coups, i.e.
Pacifica Radio's recent disenfranchisement of its "Black"
station in Washington. I realize that folks on the left are much more
likely to challenge the status quo than are those on the right, but
a coup is a coup.
2. I'm old enough
to remember when Tony Brown's Journal was called "Black Journal,"
and when Dean Brown took advantage of his relationship with Pepsico,
the show's principal sponsor at that time, to hijack that show morphing
it into "Tony Brown's Journal." There was a substantive,
and qualitative change in the program's content at that time. I long
ago relegated it into the dustbin into which I more recently deposited
3. All of this
leads me to issue my time-worn (but sill highly relevant) axiom (warning)
on this subject. It was told to me back in the early 1970s by the
late Al Johnson, once publisher of Chicago's South Suburban News,
and it still, it seems to me is quite applicable today and in these
instances (can I get a witness Julian???) to wit: "All the successful
Blacks have been bought. All the rest are still for sale."
Askia Muhammad is
White House correspondent for The Final Call.
is a top-rank intellect in Princeton, New Jersey, and an indispensable
source of timely information. We prize his evaluation highly.
Your article regarding
America's Black Right Wing Forum is so "on point" that it
should be "required reading" in every African American household
in this country! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The stench of FOX
News hangs heavily over America's Black Forum. The show's treacherous
trio - Niger Innis and Juan and Armstrong Williams - are all connected
with Roger Ailes' Republican regime at FOX in one ugly way or another.
Although ABF is a captive of the GOP, the syndication is not a FOX property.
Politically, however, there's not a dime's worth of difference, so we're
not concerned that some of our readers got the impression that FOX owns
ABF. Willie Boston writes:
Thank you for
the wonderful and insightful article on ABF. While I try to avoid
the FOX News Channel as much as possible, because of its odious and
biased perspective, I was unaware of the nexus between conservative
foundations/think tanks and the commentators on that show.
Communications Director Rich Templin has to grapple daily with the mouthpieces
of the rich Right.
The piece on the
American Black Forum was EXCELLENT! Fox News is real threat to all
our nation's working people who have been tricked with the "fair
and balanced" mantra. The more we all do to expose the sham the
. Eddgra Fallin,
of Huntsville, Alabama, is sick of looking at Armstrong Williams' teeth.
on the takeover of the black media was "on point," as my
kids say. How can we expose Armstrong Williams et al. for the media
that they are? I get so sick of turning on my television set and seeing
their grinning faces. Having said that, I smell something fishy in
this Trent Lott situation. Armstrong was calling for Trent to resign
today [Dec 13]. What is up with that?
examines Armstrong Williams' latest maneuvers in the lead commentary
of this issue, "Trent Lott Furor
Threatens Faith-based Bribery Scheme." It is long past time
to document the role of Black operatives of the Republican Party - both
card carriers and the sneaky, closeted kind - in assaults on African
Dorinda Moreno knows
a rat when she smells one.
This week's commentaries
on America's Black Forum and Strom Thurmond are eye openers. That
which you know by the gnaw in the pit of your stomach when you feel
something is in error but don't know the intimate details, your reportage
makes perfectly clear. I shall keep eyes opened and ears pealed to
your news, welcoming the raw truth, unpolished, uncluttered, forward
and straight to the point! No window dressing and plastic apologies.
The likes of Juan Williams steal from their own kind to embellish
themselves. They must be toppled!
We tried to reason
with Reginald Carter, of Cleveland, Ohio, when he first wrote to us
defending ABF host Juan Williams. However, Mr. Carter remains in Juan
The Whiner's corner.
I think you got
Juan wrong. I have observed his commentary and debate for years and
never did I detect that he might be a "closet Republican."
I will admit that he appears to relinquish the floor too easily to
those I've perceived as his political opposites - namely the conservatives
- preventing him from effectively defending his side of issues on
the table. But to paint him with the same brush as Armstrong Williams
- give me a break. Juan is simply a bit too easy going - but, not
necessarily a sell out.
What Juan Williams
doesn't want to "relinquish" are the fat rewards for anti-Black
performances on television. Brother Carter assures us that he is now
reader, so we are confident that the veil of illusions will soon be
lifted from his eyes.
Brenda Brody is a communications specialist in New Orleans. As such,
she has been frustrated at the difficulty of figuring out where Armstrong
Williams is coming from. We were pleased to clarify the situation for
Your two articles
today on the Black Rightwing Forum and on Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond
were just what I needed. It answered a lot of questions. I did not
know who Armstrong Williams was, though I have seen him puppeting
the right wing message and I wondered who this Tom was, with his lips
moving, and the repug-lican message coming from his mouth. Now I know
whose hand is up his ass making his head move.
and more than a thousand miles away in New York City, Mark McNease arrived
at precisely the same anatomical analysis.
It's good to see
you speaking out about Juan Williams, Innis, all the puppets (Black
and white) with the hand of Roger Ailes up their asses. There are
many other reasons why I appreciate your site, not the least of which
is my growing thirst for truth in a sea of lies and my despair at
the tabloidization of the American media. Watching television these
days makes me feel lost in a wilderness of fools, charlatans and psychopaths.
Thanks for being an oasis.
It is both rare
and good to feel as if in an oasis, while Trent Lott and his (suddenly
disloyal) Black minions take the political heat.
Our companion piece to the ABF commentary, "The
Living Legacy of White Minority Rule" pointed out that both
Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond are from states and counties that were
home to Black majorities at the times of their births. Dayton, Ohio's
Reverend Willam Schooler's ministry is also concerned with temporal
matters of race.
I will do my part
to share the information you provided with those I associate with
at every level, Pastors throughout these United States, government
officials at all levels that I know, black radio owners I know and
anyone else that will receive the article and care to discuss the
article with me.
American racists and what they stand for must be exposed even if exposing
them costs some of us our own lives or our level of comfort. Christ
died for revealing the truth and I am willing to follow Christ.
For Christ Himself said, "know the truth and the truth shall
set you free." All truth frees us from captivity whether mental
and or physical. The truth will also free some people from racists
who reveal their true thoughts/hearts as Senator Trent Lott and others
like him did at the birthday party of Senator Thurmond.
J. Chamberlain has
a more secular take on Trent Lott.
Sen. Paul] Wellstone had not been murdered he would now stand up in
the Senate when they next convene and DEMAND that Lott step down and
resign from the Senate, period... anything else is a cover up and
business as usual for the pigs in power.
Caesar I Howell
III, a chemist from Washington, DC, wonders why it took an Exorcist-like
convulsion from Trent Lott to stir Black leadership to righteous anger.
Actually, those are our words. Mr. Howell put it a little differently.
utter stupidity of Trent Lott's truthful explanation of that "Black
Problem" that Strom Thurmond would have been able to correct
if he became president, I have a problem with our lack of leadership
and their silence over the past 30 years prior to this remark. Lott's
recent diatribe and PR, "I'm-truly-sorry-that-you-problem-people"
excuse has proven that we continue to think like sheep just prior
to the dinner table....
One does not pick
on Harvard University without generating a response. Guest Commentator
Shelton Amstrod's December 5 piece, "Harvard:
The Strange Career of a Troublesome Institution," provoked
irritation, anger and amens. Richard Buery is a member of the Harvard
class of '92.
I must be missing the point of Shelton Amstrod's commentary on Blacks
and Harvard. The article identifies dozens of racists who have been
affiliated with Harvard throughout its history. While we should never
forget that shameful legacy, I doubt it distinguishes Harvard from
any other long-established American institution. But I'm not sure
how this horrible history leads to his conclusion - that "those
Blacks who seek to append themselves to this corrupt legacy will suffer
a shameful disgrace."
and present is full of evildoers and evil deeds, but is also full
of noble individuals who have played a central role in the fight for
freedom and justice in America, people such as DuBois, Charles Hamilton
Houston, and Bob Moses. It is also a center of the study of African-American
history and culture. The implication at the end of Amstrod's commentary
- that somehow a good education is bad for African Americans - is
highly offensive, and smells to me of the worst-sort of African-American
anti-intellectualism that condemns our children in cities across the
country to charges of "selling out" and "acting white"
when they work towards academic achievement.
of Harvard "rings true," however, to reader Carol D. Tart.
Thanks for the
information. I have been researching this very subject for quite some
time. Everything written rings true. However, it's not just the white
establishments that uphold these so-called "black" intellectuals
as the best of the best, it's also the elite and "sub-elite"
blacks as well.
As far as Randall Kennedy ["Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome
Word"] is concerned, his book is truly one-sided. And, it was
at the request of the president of Stanford that he wrote the book
after giving several lectures on the subject at the university....
Yes, one knows there is a problem with the so-called black intellectuals
at Harvard (and other Ivy League institutions) when it calls its department
specializing in the study of Africans and African Americans/Blacks
Afro-American Studies. I don't know of any educated Black people
who call themselves Afro-anything. Yet, Henry Louis Gates is a GOD!
Therefore, it's the responsibility of Black people to now denounce
these mis-educated fools. Unfortunately, most Black people are afraid.
Even more important is the fact that when the time comes for Black
people to speak up on this subject, they must realize that much of
what is considered Black history in America (and beyond) may just
be a pack of untruths.
used to work at Harvard. He now heads up a firm called SaveOurSelves
Productions. We can understand why.
The writer makes
perfect sense. As a former administrator at Harvard who worked closely
with Derrick Bell on the public protest in 1988 that led to Professor
Bell relinquishing his tenure, and my administrative position being
eliminated the following year, Mr.Armstrod's commentary is a haunting
reminder to all of us that history is preface.
The price we are
all bound to pay because a few of us in the "big house"
trash our culture, legacy, and history in order to gain legitimacy
on the white lecture circuit is a travesty of monumental proportion.
More of us have to express our disdain with this new revisionist history
being written and espoused by some of us who hold the rest of us in
thinks that "Harvard" might be concerned about criticism in
the pages of The Black Commentator. If only that were so.
One wonders how
Harvard's current administration would receive this piece. I'd love
for you to send it to them and ask for a response. What a powerful
publication you are producing!
Our December 5 lead
of the Pirates" was posted all over the Internet, apparently
in some very intelligent places. (We hold all those who agree with
in very high esteem.) Jim Lynch is a new visitor; we think he'll stick
Your 'Rule Of
The Pirates' commentary is a beautifully crafted, well written critique
of the Bush administration. ("They have allegiances to no one",
indeed). So well written, in fact, that I'm left feeling - well, I
guess I feel as though you pulled your punches. The gist of what you
say is that these people are traitors to their country. "Treason"
is a far more powerful accusation than "piracy". And given
all you say, a far more accurate one.
is also a newcomer to these pages, who knows how to talk to the hosts.
on Bush and Cheney drooling over the prospect of profit from war was
brilliant. You are insightful. Thanks for opening my eyes a little
We conclude with
three letters from recent visitors to
who were kind enough to announce themselves and to explain their reasons
I am not an African-American, but have strong beliefs regarding Social
Justice. There are, I'm afraid, too few voices of reason willing to
work to get our nation back on track. We need to regain the ground
lost since the day of the terrible attacks on our nation. We need
to have a more open and clear view of the future, instead of the current
trend towards secrecy, small mindedness and unseemly lack of concern
for the international repercussions of our actions.
Prof. Peter McLaren,
UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies:
The Black Commentator will become a major site for my students' research
at UCLA. Your commentaries and analyses are urgent and important.
I have signed up to receive your news. I heard of you through www.democrats.com.
I am an old Scots-Irish grandma with a bit of American Indian and
French blood with seven beautiful biracial grandchildren - black,
American Indian and caucasian. I worry so about them because of the
unremitting effects of racism that still permeates every sector of
society. I like to have a heads up on what is going on from a black
I am on the e-mail list for Democrats.com, and they have been featuring
some of your articles. Your combination of relevant, in-depth coverage
and perceptive, much-needed, analysis is pretty much unparalleled
in the press right now. Something you undoubtedly are aware of, but
something that many thousands of Americans are aware of, also. The
Internet has become practically our only source of information.
I have been forwarding
your articles to others with a mouse right-click-to other liberals
who appreciate the political orientation and the prose, and to some
independents who need the facts that they are not getting anywhere
Please keep real
journalism alive in case democracy survives....