There 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, "America's Black 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 writes:

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 him.

Three comments.

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 ABF.

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.

Brother Adeyemi 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.

Florida AFL-CIO 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 better.

. Eddgra Fallin, of Huntsville, Alabama, is sick of looking at Armstrong Williams' teeth.

Your commentary 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 whores 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 American institutions.

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 a regular 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 her.

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.

Coincidentally, 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.

Trench-mouth Lott

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.

If [Minnesota 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.

Considering the 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....

Troublesome" Harvard

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."

Harvard's past 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.

Amstrod's assessment 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.

Lawrence Watson 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 contempt.

Marjorie Loring 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!

Superpower Piracy

Our December 5 lead commentary, "Rule 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 around.

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.

Vernon Vanpoucke is also a newcomer to these pages, who knows how to talk to the hosts.

Your commentary on Bush and Cheney drooling over the prospect of profit from war was brilliant. You are insightful. Thanks for opening my eyes a little wider.

We conclude with three letters from recent visitors to who were kind enough to announce themselves and to explain their reasons for staying.

Sue Dennis:
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.

Charlotte Masterman, Eagan, Minnesota:
I have signed up to receive your news. I heard of you through 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 perspective.

Mary Edwards, Davis, California:
I am on the e-mail list for, 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 else!

Please keep real journalism alive in case democracy survives....

Keep writing.

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Issue Number 21
December19, 2002



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Other commentaries in this issue:

Commentary 1
Trent Lott Furor Threatens Faith-based Bribery Scheme Program to woo Black clergy at heart of turmoil

Commentary 2
Anti-War Hard Core and Anti-War Lite
Privilege, comfort and fear cause schisms

Trent Lott’s racist momma... Preachers on the take... Poor insufficiently taxed... Non-existent benefits abolished

Strom Thurmond’s Black Daughter - Common knowledge about a "special relationship"
By Ken Cummins

Guest Commentary
By Dr. David Graham Du Bois

Commentaries in Issue 20 December 12, 2002:

Commentary 1
America’s Black Rightwing Forum: The grotesque devolution of a Black news program - by BC co-publishers Glen Ford and Peter Gamble

Commentary 2
The Living Legacy of White Minority Rule: Lott, Thurmond remain, but millions gone from the soil

Unemployment Ravages Blacks... States going broke... Lights get dimmer at BET

Pirates at the helm... SATs spell doom for Blacks... Certified Black "intellectuals"... AIDS cure hidden?

Selling Sloppy Statistics. By Tim Wise

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.