Unless the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress or the courts provide relief, dissent in America will soon find itself relegated to a kind of underground, driven to the margins of the "public" airwaves by a corporate class that is intent on devouring all civil society. Since political action is unthinkable absent the means to communicate effectively among the people, the FCC's diktat is absolutely unacceptable. The opposition to America Inc. must either begin in earnest to "Treat the Corporate Media Like the Enemy" - the title of our May 1 commentary on media consolidation - or dust off old pamphlets written by (dead) Latin American guerillas. Somehow, we don't think American progressives are cut out for the underground, so they'd better rise up with an innovative and very public set of strategies, quickly. Modern money moves at the speed of light.

Our May 1 commentary was subtitled, "& no free pass for Black radio." Black America faces an unsolved dilemma, the product of glorious successes in the Sixties that were hijacked by a small clique of super-beneficiaries. As we wrote in last week's Cover Story, "Who Killed Black Radio News?"

African Americans were caught between two valid sets of demands - Black community access to the airwaves, and Black ownership of broadcast properties. With the enthusiastic support of the entire Black body politic, the entrepreneurs won great victories, increasing their properties seven-fold in the space of a generation, and their net worths by far more than that. They were empowered to join the game of consolidation that began in the Eighties and reached fever pitch after passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 ....

In a betrayal that, we believe, has been a major factor in the relentless decline of Black political power, many Black radio owners have adopted business plans identical to their white corporate peers.

The result has been the near-extinction of local news in Black-formatted radio outlets, with 66-station, Black-owned Radio One the biggest offender. For example, Radio One's four stations dominate the Black Washington, DC market, but employ "not a single newsperson." The corporation declared revenues of nearly $300 million last year.

As we have learned to our despair and horror, Black ownership guarantees nothing and, in the case of Radio One, ensures that entertainment, disc jockey chatter and syndication become standard fare. Most importantly, the absence of news operations at Black radio stations results in atrophy of existing Black political groupings and the stillbirth of new organizations. Talk shows do not empower communities, vibrant grassroots organizations do. And these organizations can only flourish when their activities are given proper coverage in the media that their constituencies listen to - Black radio.

We took selective issue with a commentary by James E. Clingman, a distinguished and very hard-working Cincinnati educator, businessman, activist and talk show host. Professor Clingman's piece warned that further radio consolidation threatens African American ownership gains, and called on fellow talk show hosts to "turn Black talk radio into Black action radio." Although fully aware that Professor Clingman is one of the good guys in this story, we chided him for leaving Black news out of the equation. Professor Clingman replied with characteristic grace.

Even though you took me to task for failing to paint the entire picture of our demise vis-a-vis Black radio news, your piece is enlightening, educational, and just plain old outstanding! I Love it!

I wish I had the space to have put all of my thoughts in the article I wrote. But suffice to say that I understand that "corporate mentality" that infects our people when they "move on up." I see it everyday right here in the home of Procter and God, oops, I mean Procter and Gamble.

I also understand and have written many times about the fact that merely being black (small "b") is not an indicator of doing what is right for Black people and, thus, I certainly do not cling to that notion. I'd love to see it, but I know better. As a matter of fact, I have had the experience of being treated terribly by blacks (small "b") in this town, because of my unwillingness to capitulate to the corporate way of doing things.

My piece was written out of frustration at what I hear daily on our local talk programs, so I guess I was lashing out about that. However, the article caused many readers to respond from across the country and piqued the interest of some of our "Black Talk" personalities. I was a guest on three radio shows last week to discuss our state of affairs in the industry. I hope they read your piece and get you on the air to share the information you pointed out in Black Commentator.

Nonetheless, please accept my deepest appreciation for your excellent piece. If it doesn't wake our people up, I don't know what it will take. Keep up the fine job you are doing of informing our people.

Professor Clingman can be contacted at his excellent website, www.blackonomics.com. His show airs on WBDZ-AM, Cincinnati.

San Francisco's KPOO-FM teamed up with Pacifica Radio for a live broadcast of last month's FCC hearings in that city - all in a days work for "the only African American owned and operated non-commercial radio station west of the Mississippi and the first Black station in the country to be on-line."

Harrison J. Chastang III is news director at KPOO, and also finds time to read .

Very good analysis on the state of Black Radio news. I'm one of the very few Black radio news directors in the country (the Radio & TV News Directors Association says that less than one percent of radio and TV news directors are Black) and I am often disappointed by the number of black radio reporters at important events like the political conventions, where the number of reporters from radio stations with mostly Black audiences could be counted on two hands with room left to make a peace sign. See this article I wrote a while back on the lack of discussion of the Black perspective of the war on Black commercial stations.

co-publisher Glen Ford discussed the coming battle for effective local Black radio news operations on KPOO's On The Spot program, Tuesday night. American Urban Radio Network's Jerry Scott and syndicated talk show host Bev Smith have also conducted interviews with on the subject, "Who Killed Black Radio News?" Black-owned Major Broadcasting Cable Network featured in the "Other Voices" segment of its evening news, on Tuesday.

In researching the commentary, we were reminded how destructive the past 30 years have been for Black news. In 1973, three Black-oriented Washington radio stations - only one of them Black-owned - fielded 21 reporters. Today, six Black-oriented commercial stations - five of them Black-owned - employ just four newspersons to serve the people of DC.

The lights have not gone out for Black news, nationally - yet. Cephas Bowles writes:

Thank you for the very insightful and thoughtful commentary. While I was aware that Black news was becoming harder to find, I wasn't aware of the impact that radio consolidation was having in this area.

For those who haven't heard, about one year ago, NPR, the non-commercial network that is based in Washington, D.C., launched an African-American targeted and focused daily news show hosted by Tavis Smiley. The one-hour Tavis Smiley Show is broadcast by various NPR affiliates, including many of the NPR system's African-American owned and managed stations. Throughout the hour, Mr. Smiley, the former host of "BET Tonight", explores various issues of importance to African Americans from his well-informed perspective. For those craving meaningful and significant review and analysis of issues from an African-American perspective, this is a daily news program worth hearing.

We also applaud Tavis Smiley, and have been pleased to appear in his unfettered airspace.

Dick Wetherbee signs all his letters,"Peace, freedom & keep your word." Here are his words:

As a fat, old, white, southern lover of my only beef with you is that you (understandably) concentrate on black issues. This BS is happening to all of us and we need to stand together. As an ex rock & roll musician, I see my young friends making $50 a night unless they get on the corporate plantation.

News? On every major station it's the same 3 or 4 stories. Argentina & Zimbabwe have dropped off the map. Are they still murdering people in Guatemala? Who knows? Mega-media has decided that they don't count. I don't want more laws. I trust "people power."

We think white people can speak for themselves, and will not patronize them by attempting to speak in their stead. As for the need to "stand together," we stand where we are and expect others to grow their own spines. But we will take Mr. Wetherbee's word that he is one of those who stands.

Steven M. Brown is one of many who are far too quick to blame the "people" for the assault on local news. His argument is based on false assumptions, but here it is:

Do we as a people care enough about local & world events to demand that our media outlets keep us informed and provide alternative opinions to the mainstream? It's the same question that people have had about BET for years, especially when Robert Johnson owned it - everybody cries about the number of videos that are played featuring disgusting lyrics and booty-shaking hoochies, but does the news and public affairs programming draw the same numbers? We cry about the lack of "serious" Black film, but when a "Rosewood" comes out, do we go to see it in the same numbers as we flock to see the "Booty Calls"? It's a simple economic matter of supply and demand - if we were clamoring for Black radio news, we would get it. I enjoy your weekly commentaries, and I guarantee, if you add a dating or entertainment component to the website the hits would skyrocket, it's a sad fact that more of us want to be entertained than informed.

The owners of Radio One and Clear Channel would appreciate Mr. Brown's framing of the issue as "a simple economic matter of supply and demand." Nothing in there at all about public policy, as if the airwaves were the rightful property of corporations. Even Michael Powell doesn't make that claim. It is the wrong place to begin the discussion.

Here are the facts, both political and economic: Many Black people did demand that radio stations reflect their political and social realities and aspirations, in the Sixties and early Seventies. In addition, the FCC at that time read its mandate as requiring licensees (station operators) to fulfill their obligations to specific communities through news and public affairs programming. Since all stations serving these communities were under similar obligations, they were compelled to compete with one another to create the better news product. This is how it came to be that 21 reporters from Black-oriented radio served Black Washington, 30 years ago. (This does not include the much larger number of reporters from non-Black radio, who also often covered Black events.) It's called competition in a regulated market.

News is a necessity. Rich people make sure they get all the news they need to remain in power. Black people need news to climb out of powerlessness. These essentials cannot be made subject to market decisions or plebiscites. Mr. Brown's logic would lead to the conclusion that non-voters or wrong-headed voters should lose their rights (and their children's rights) since they do not choose to use or defend them, or that people have the right to sell themselves into slavery - which is still illegal in the U.S.

is a political organ for "influencers" - movers and shakers. We don't do barbershop conversation. Leadership mobilizes people to make demands in the people's interests. Mr. Brown should stop despairing, and start shaking and moving. He's lost his rhythm.

Joyce, on the other hand, has never lost her compass. She writes from Connecticut.

I am an "elder" in the movement. My contemporaries and I have been active in "the struggle" for more than 30 years, and remain hopeful regarding positive social change for our people in this country. We listened to Malcolm and Martin, and watched them die. We heard Stokeley, Huey, Eldridge, and Angela, and hoped. We saw the movement turn the corner, and knew, indeed, that the next phase of the revolution would "not be televised." Yet, we continued to hope. There were many antecedents of the civil rights movement of the Sixties, including blatant prejudice, roadblocks to health care, voting rights, the corporate ladder, and more. These roadblocks gave us the fire, the passion for a movement, a revolution, and pointed us to charismatic leadership, who stuck their necks out and lost their lives.

Some of us don't think we have to be concerned about which blacks don't broadcast black news on the radio any more. Attaining corporate capitalistic comfort could not help but cancel out any compassion, could not help but deaden the desire to serve and lift up the masses. brothers and sisters, you just keep doing what you are doing, which is huge! The Lord will take care of the rest, for as the Bible says: "the heart of the king(s) is in the hands of the Lord." Let us not make the mistake of leaving the Lord out of the revolution this time 'round. Referring to the enemy, the Bible also says: "one can put ten thousand to flight." Go , you be that one, and put ten thousand to flight!

A bold (or bald) assertion

In his May 22 Guest Commentary, "Fault Blair and the Times, Not Affirmative Action," journalist Amos Jones wrote:

The New York Times erred in its handling of Mr. Blair, but the vexing culprit, in light of the facts, is neither affirmative action nor Mr. Blair's blackness: It is an unprecedented instance of faulty recruitment and development that oversaw the commission of a conspiracy of one. Nothing more.

Our practice is to forward readers' comments to the authors. Mr. Jones chose to reply to this letter, from Tom Emmert:

I've read your views on the Jayson Blair episode and I think you have correctly assessed that the Times should have (and had good reason to) removed Blair many months ago. I think this is without question. What you evidently have no experience in, however, is the process of removing an employee. For a white-dominated enterprise such as the Times to discharge a Black employee is a nearly-impossible task, given the labyrinth of law in this field.

Try again.

Mr. Jones, a more patient and conscientious man than either of the publishers of , breathed deeply and composed a response to the assertion that Black people are untouchable in the workplace.

Mr. Emmert:

Perhaps you read a commentary different from the one I wrote; I never called for the discharge of Blair from the New York Times. I wrote of the management: "They should have taken Blair off the job long ago, as they now seem to acknowledge."

Reassignment of black reporters and editors to less-prominent positions by and within white-dominated newspapers is not an impossible task - and does not appear to be even "nearly" impossible, as you claim. In fact, black journalists at the New York Times and similar newspapers have been moved (not even demoted, necessarily, but "taken off the job," as I recommended for Blair) regularly and without incident, said Carla Baranaukus of the New York Times's national desk, speaking recently at Columbia University.

I have not thought much about the possibility of discharging Blair prior to April 29, an entirely new idea introduced in your e-mail to me and not contained in my commentary. That's probably because your premise is unfounded: Under acts of Congress and within New York statutes, there is no "nearly" absolute job security for blacks at white-dominated firms. The New York Times/Blair scandal would be unmistakable if blacks had such security, which you imply is in place: Howell Raines's obvious defense would have been, "I wanted to discharge him, but the law would not allow it."

To inform your perspective, you could consult an authority such as my uncle, a Yale lawyer who, since 1961, has written much of the employment-discrimination public policies that underpin employers' hiring and promotion practices. He would assure you that white employers like the New York Times are empowered in their hiring and promotions. With this empowerment, the New York Times chose to send Blair to cover the sniper attacks and Jessica Lynch's homecoming, notwithstanding the reporter's documented errors of the last three years. The editors' laudatory reassignments are contrary to the actions of an employer aware of the need either to relocate or discharge a wayward worker.

Therefore, since the newspaper's leaders saw no need to discharge Blair, my commentary does not attempt to suggest a strategy by which the newspaper could have discharged him. My commentary is concerned, instead, with pointing out the reasons never to have hired and promoted Blair in the first place. You should read it.

We commend Mr. Jones on his detailed rebuttal of Mr. Emmert's fantastic delusion. Emmert is, of course, neither interested in nor deterred by facts. But we bet he won't test out his theory of Black invulnerability in the workplace by attempting to pass for Black.

Peter E. Fowler, of Columbus, Ohio sees quite a different reality than the one that exists in Emmert's head. It's a mad world, but the one we actually live in, where skin privilege acts as a Teflon that even the most public disgrace cannot tarnish.

Once again, must be relied upon for a "reality check." This time it's regarding the rancorous diatribe perpetrated by mainstream media over the Jayson Blair story. Has any one noticed the revival of reporter-liar Stephen Glass, as covered by Newsweek (5.19.03, pp.70-71)? This white former writer for The New Republic was fired in 1998 for concocting outrageous lies that were printed as news. Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall much of an uproar over Mr. Glass's serial lying and his subsequent demise as a reporter. Maybe his being a white boy had something to do with that, ya think?

The Glass episode is the most scandalous of all. This pathological liar finds an affinity group at the New Republic, where they love his lies; finally tells ten or fifteen too many; goes home to write a book, "The Fabulist," about a liar like himself - and is rewarded with a fat advance and a publisher's dream: 20 minutes on "60 Minutes"!

And, yes, the whole concept of justice in America turns on a racial axis.

Jayson Blair, the person, should be judged in the context of an industry and "profession" steeped in corruption and enriched by fraud. John Stewart writes:

's comments on the NY Times' public performance (a sort of self-conceited victim of "Jayson Blair's illness") are on target and I've passed your column on to others. It is important that Black people - especially the young among us - be supported in the understanding that while we may feel for Jayson Blair as a brother, we bear no responsibility for his particular "opportunity," or for the particular way in which he dealt with what must have been an agonizing situation. We would have counseled a different direction to his creativity. In one way or another we are all challenged in our everyday lives to perform in situations designed to put us on demonstration as failures. This is a serious "sport" in some rarefied quarters of the society, and we have to be careful about the roads to success designed for us by others.

Tim Wise is a talented and busy man, a dissector of racism in America. We plucked a few paragraphs of his Znet article, "Inventing Jason Blair: Reflections on White Privilege and Hypocrisy" for last week's issue, including this gem:

According to the National Center for Career Strategies, more than 85 percent of all jobs are filled by word-of-mouth as opposed to merit-based competition through open advertising. What's more, nine in ten executives got their jobs through networking. So just who do we think are the folks in these networks, and who are those persons disproportionately left out? To ask the question is to answer it.

"This was right on target," wrote Dan Pryzbyla, of Milwaukee. He expanded:

It's also why jobs in government public services (including public school teachers) had the jump start of having more people of color in employment than the worshippers of the marketplace private sector - especially because affirmative action law was implemented by federal, state, and local governments. By no means perfect, but way, way, way ahead of the "private" sector because of the real ways people got jobs - word of mouth. Although now retired, every single job I ever got in the private sector was by "word of mouth," beginning at 14 being a "caddie" on a golf course. That, obviously, was before golf carts.

Black "doormen" in demand

In last week's e-Mailbox, a reader from Canada requested clarification of 's position on the Blair matter. We responded, in part:

We believe that white institutions use affirmative action as a cover to continue the kind of Black hiring they have always practiced - if they have hired Blacks, at all. White managers choose Blacks they believe will reflect well on their institution's racial image. (Black managers at white-dominated institutions often use the same criteria, re: Times managing editor Gerald Boyd, whose presence appears to have no effect on the paper's corporate culture.) This kind of "double standard" - a self-serving white invention - rejects Blacks who make whites uncomfortable (a helluva burden to overcome) and elevates Blacks who possess white people-pleasing skills.

It is clear that Jayson Blair was found pleasing to some white people in high places at the New York Times.

Jerry Shelby used our comments as his own point of departure.

Your response is Absolutely Correct!

And I would like to take it one step further, with your permission!

The Black Mindset today is in a shameful condition. Thinking back just a little more than a generation ago (40 years), blacks were at the bottom of the American economic and social scale. After the great sacrifices of many blacks and a handful of our white American brothers and sisters, blacks today accept a leather chair, Oak desk set, and an invitation for morning coffee (at work) as black success. Being the Only Negro In The Office (ONITO). Well trained, and well disciplined in knowing not to carry the conversation at work or in meetings. And what's even more regrettable, this is a well-known fact in the black community!

Essentially, blacks have been sold by their own people once again. When the gates of Affirmative Action opened in 1964, many blacks took off like greyhounds at the races to be accepted, anxious to prove that they were different than what was stereotyped as the Negro.

It's forgiven to be a fool once, but when the same game can be run on you over and over again; it's time to stop blaming the Con Man. Since the Negro landed in America, Negro male and female have been presented with the Golden Cookie of betraying his brother and sister for a better personal life!

Rather than say blacks have been successful since Affirmative Action and Civil Rights, I believe it is better suited to say, "A black can now become successful if they know how they should act!"

We blacks are not being conned, we're being hoodwinked, deceived and tricked by our own people! We push for blacks in upper level positions and that's exactly what racism gives us - A black, and that's all we end up with, A black! The same ole House Negro, but this time dressed in a suit and tie, or business dress and pumps!

We complain about blacks not getting hired, blacks not getting promoted, blacks not getting educated? Then we get Black Superintendents, Black Justices, Black Police Chiefs, Black Mayors, Black Governors, Black Managers, and Black Leaders in the White House - right? And no more blacks are getting it now than they were before! We've got just as many ghettos and just as many unsuccessful blacks today. Blacks today are as poor as they were 40 years ago, but today they are at a higher level of the poor scale.

Today, the guard at the gate of success looks just like YOU!

In conclusion:

Many successful blacks today, value the Privilege of being successful in America more than they value the Principle of Equal Opportunity. But as our 34th President of the United States Dwight D Eisenhower so eloquently stated: "A people that value its privileges over its principles will soon lose both."

Harvard University Exchange

"[W]hy have so many Blacks with suspect motives, and having no organic relationship to any Black institution, been placed in front of Blacks to speak on Blacks' behalf? Maybe it is time to examine the legacy of this institution to understand the nature of those Blacks who so proudly wear its brand." - "Harvard: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Institution."

When we published Shelton Amstrod's Guest Commentary, last December, the piece elicited a modest, yet highly charged, response from readers, then faded into the archives. In recent weeks, however, Mr. Amstrod's denunciation of Harvard and a large portion of its Black alumnae has stirred renewed passion on the campus.

Jason Glenn, a doctoral candidate at Harvard's Department of the History of Science, sent a letter intended to "add some balance to the discussion (e-Mailbox May 28).

As Carter G. Woodson tried to teach us as far back as 1933, it's not the institution or any inherent evil on the part of people who attend them that produces racism among whites and self-hatred among Blacks, but the content of the textbooks. If the texts are the same, it doesn't matter where the student went to school. What does make the difference is the perspective with which a student reads those texts. If you know the texts you are reading are the ones used to validate and legitimize the current world system, and replicate - generation after generation - the set of behaviors that keeps that system in place, then you read those texts with the purpose of deconstructing them, not as the truth that would make one "educated."

Another Harvard doctoral candidate joins the discussion. "I read with great interest your article on negroism at Harvard University and the response by brother Jason Glenn," wrote Kwame Zulu Shabazz, of the Department of Anthropology. "I would like to offer my rebuttal to the observations of brother Jason."

Brother Jason,

You imply that the article is uncomplicated and unsophisticated. If we were discussing an essay for a scholarly journal you MIGHT be able to persuade me but we are not discussing a "scholarly" piece--which by the way is too often an excuse for opacity. The genre is journalism and the rules of engagement are necessarily different. The primary task of a journalist is to inform and, as you readily concur, the essay was informative. I do not disagree with your premise that racism exists in white institutions generally. And I too have been known to argue that HBCU's can sometimes be more conservative than their white counterparts - but there are some important caveats or complications to that argument also. Woodson himself points out the black institutions should not be imitations of "harvard, yale, columbia, or chicago" (Miseducation of the Negro, p. 31). This presupposes that there is something uniquely problematic with black folks who attend elite white institutions--precisely the point of the essay and a point I will return to below.

I rather think that it is not the article that lacks sophistication and complication; it is we, the readers, who must interpret the essay in a complicated and sophisticated manner. For example, we might observe that the authors of the essay are being polemical, a time-honored tradition in black expression ranging from David Walker to Queen Mother Moore to Malcolm X. To impose a literalist reading on the essay would be to miss its polemical point - I doubt that the authors really think that every black person who goes thru Harvard is a sell-out. Further, I am surprised that you would suggest that Harvard "is no different" when it comes to producing house negroes. Harvard is different because in the minds of many people it is the premiere academic institution in the world. It has power! The production and perpetuation of white supremacy at Harvard is and has been far more egregious than anything produced at say Grambling or Howard (see, for example, Lee Baker, From Savage to Negro). Thus, when Randal Kennedy speaks authoritatively about black folks he's got the Harvard juice and everybody listens.

Finally, there is little in the article that Woodson would contest. I think you simplify Carter G. Woodson's very comprehensive discussion of miseducation and institutionalized academic racism. Institutional academic racism is much more than racist textbooks. Woodson offers an incisive critique of the educational PARADIGM. This includes its political, psychological, social, religious, economic, and juridical aspects. Tellingly, the article concludes with a Hamer quote of which Woodson is in accord.

Woodson observes that "one of the most striking evidences of the failure of higher education among negroes is their estrangement from the masses (Miseducation of the Negro, p.52)." This is in perfect agreement with the article's observation regarding spokesmen for the black experience who have no organic connection to the black masses.

Kwame Zulu Shabazz

Jason Glenn is ready with a rebuttal:

I would like to thank Mr. Shabazz for taking the time to write such a passionate and well put together response - it demonstrates how much both of us care about this issue. I do not think that our disagreement is that substantive where we cannot find common ground. To perhaps demonstrate my point, let me offer this:

Kwame Shabazz is a great colleague, scholar, and, perhaps, one of the most revolutionary-minded brothers I know. He makes you scratch your head and say to yourself, "How did such a whitey-hating, dashiki-wearing, iconoclastic brother like that get into Harvard?!" The answer lies in the fact that Harvard, as Mr. Shabazz rightly points out, is recognized as the premier academic institution in the United States. However, because Harvard enjoys that status, it will often take chances on progressive or transformative scholars that other institutions - trying to emulate Harvard - will be much too conservative to consider. The point is, if we want to have a discussion about the racist thinking and the number of Black 'Uncle Tom', sell-out scholars that emerge from American academic institutions, it would be a bit unfair to single out Harvard without taking these kinds of nuances into account. The fact that Harvard allows a man like Mr. Shabazz to have a voice - and let's not forget that both Du Bois and Woodson come out of Harvard! (not to suggest that their time here was easy or that Harvard accepted them with open arms!) - forces us to acknowledge that it is difficult to try to pin down the seat of racism to one place.

This brings me back to the point I was trying to make in my first response, which is that I think it is more useful to engage in a discussion about how all American academic institutions help perpetuate racism and "ruin more negroes" as a condition of their very nature. Understanding that nature and, hopefully, emerging not ruined depends on us having this discussion and realizing that the purpose of the academic institution is not so much to educate (as in teaching students to think critically) but to socialize us all to see the world from a (White) Western perspective and to act in it accordingly. As such, all academic institutions potentially can and often do ruin many 'negroes.'

Again, my purpose here is not to defend Harvard, and Shelton Amstrod did a great job compiling an impressive amount of research, but I write because I would hate to have any Black person out there thinking that because they do not go to Harvard that they can let down their guard and not actively challenge and think critically about the education they receive. That is something upon which I think that Mr. Shabazz, Mr. Amstrod, and myself could all agree.

Thanks, again, for providing the forum to have this discussion.

Jason Glenn

It's good to hear the sound of minds at work in the many corners of Black America.

Freaked out at the Free RepubliKKK

was visited by hordes of barbarians last week, thousands of them, drawn to our site by the scent of Khalil Bendib's April 24 cartoon featuring Condoleezza Rice.

Caption: Condoleezza Rice...is arguably the most trusted National Security Adviser in the history of the position. The broker of the war cabinet, she is the one Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney must visit to express their views with Bush. - San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, April 15, 2003.

It turns out that Mr. Bendib's work had been posted by far-right FreeRepublic.com, the "premier conservative news forum", associated with the foulest foundations and think tanks in the land. The reactionaries' reactions ranged from apoplexy to amusement. Here's a sample of their chatter:

"The sexual implication is clear. The papers are marked URGENT, etc, and Condi is dressed to kill. Do Not Disturb sign on the door. Condi not allowing them to see into the room."

"Or it could be implying that G.W. is a racist and is using Dr. Rice as his slave mistress .... "

"It contains a pretty good rendering of Rumsfeld."

"Or it could be just the way the cartoonist views Condi in all settings. She is an attractive lady."

"I resemble that remark. I view her as a very attractive lady and a major part of her attractiveness is her intelligence."

"He has definitely drawn Condi in an attractive manner. He likes her! Can someone tell me who that is behind Rummy?"

"Reminds me of my favorite Saturday Night Live skit (the early years). JFK was in the Oval Office with Marilyn discussing foreign policy. Every time someone would come in, he'd throw her across the desk in a passionate embrace .... "

"That's the worst Dick Cheney I've seen. Looks more like 'Spy v. Spy.'"

"Can someone tell me who that is behind Rummy?"

That is supposed to be Colin Powell. I originally mistook the Rummy character for Ted Kennedy. Great caricatures, Khalil .... "

"Even with the caption at the website, that cartoon looks to me like a suggestion that Dr. Rice and Mr. Bush are engaged in adultery. I just can't read it any other way. If the cartoonist is suggesting that, then I suggest that the cartoonist is a vile, reprehensible toad."

"It is a mirror image of how blacks view black women. They are first and foremost sex slaves. The number of single black mom's bears this out."

"If the cartoonist is black, it indicates (to me) that he has a poor self image of Blackness. This is probably the result of a public school education."

"He's just jealous since Condi's so hot."

We have made the the entire mess available on our Website at this location if you choose to read it.

Which way is up?

We end with this column with a note from the person called MediaT3RR0R:

You guys are doing a great job as usual. I may be wrong, but I feel a subtle loss of media momentum for the conservatives, almost as if the Pigs have gorged themselves at the feeding troth, and now they're feeling drunk on themselves. Maybe the pendulum is about to swing the other way. When the liberals get on top again, we have to remember to kick the living shit out of the Pigs.

Warring against truth is hard, even for the corporate media, some of whom must be profoundly embarrassed by the constant betrayals of fact in which they are complicit. However, the "liberals" still don't know which way is up, which makes it very difficult for them to even begin to get on top.

Mr. T3RR0R also reports: "I've been working to create a multimedia project to deliver the most deeply offensive insults I possibly can to the Bushies."

wholeheartedly endorses the project, because ... well, just because.

Keep writing.

gratefully acknowledges the following organizations for sending visitors our way during the past week:


The Final Call (Nation of Islam)

Richard Prince's Journalisms (The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education)



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Issue Number 45
June 5, 2003

Other commentaries in this issue:

Cover Story
Bringing Chaos to the Boardroom - Attack on Stock Value Is Key to Union Victory

In Search of the Real Barack Obama: Can a Black Senate candidate resist the DLC? By Bruce A. Dixon, BC Associate Editor

Union Victory

"Who Killed Black Radio News?" A letter to BC from Todd Burroughs, Ph.D.

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Commentaries in Issue 44 May 29, 2003:

Cover Story
Who Killed Black Radio News?

Blacks poorest of all, says Census... African famine prompts Bush sales pitch... SEIU declares health key presidential issue

Like Father ... Like Son

The last word on Jayson Blair... Victory declared for Danny Glover... Harvard not full of house Negroes

Dad's Diploma: Overcoming Injustice by Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC), Guest Commentator

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