TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Glen Ford on Barack Obama

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The candidacy of Barack Obama for the presidential nomination of the US Democratic Party has created a level of interest not seen in the US since, perhaps, that of Robert Kennedy.

Obama is intelligent, handsome, tall, occasionally eloquent, and at the centre of a super-powerful myth-making machine which has cast him as a saviour, a new breed of politician and a new species of post-racial humanity.

For some, the image of Obama says, “The future is finally here!” And for others, the image of Obama says, “The past is finally over.”

But the future is not here, and the past is never really past. And through tonight’s guest, we’ll find out just how true that is. Glen Ford is a journalist and editor, a co-founder of the online magazine The Black Commentator, and a founding editor of the online magazine The Black Agenda Report.

His career in news and broadcasting started early. Ford was only 11 years old when started reading newswire copy on air in Columbus, Georgia, and by 1970, was working as a broadcaster at a radio station owned by James Brown. He later created Black World Report, a syndicated half-hour weekly news magazine, and in 1974 worked for the 88-station Mutual Black Network for which he was the Capitol Hill, State Department and White House correspondent.

In 1977, he co-created, produced and hosted America’s Black Forum, commercial televisions’ first nationally syndicated African-American news interview program, generating international headlines and commanding the attention of White news services such as AP, UPI, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Tass.

His many successes include the cultural broadcasting of his Black Agenda Reports, Rap It Up, the hip hop show he founded in 1987 which was the first nationally-syndicated show of its kind in the US, and three national hip hop conventions. He’s been an editor and report for three newspapers, the author of the book The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion, and a national political columnist. In 2006, Ford and his writing team left Black Commentator.com to found BlackAgendaReport.com, an influential online political analysis magazine.

Glen Ford and Black Agenda Report have been at the forefront of analysing what Ford calls Obama-mania. Recognising the historical significance of the Obama candidacy, Ford has refused to be blinded by image and instead to engage substance. For his rigor, Obama’s boosters have vilified him.

Glen Ford spoke with me via telephone from his office in New Jersey on Friday, May 09. I began by asking him to discuss who Barack Obama was before he was elected to the Illinois legislature as a state senator.

Glen Ford addresses the similarities between Barack Obama and the other so-called “new Black politicians” such as Harold Ford, Jr. and Corey Booker—young African-American men masquerading as populists while serving the interests of corporate America.

I also asked Glen Ford to discuss Obama’s position on police brutality, including the 2006 case of Sean Bell, one of three unarmed African-Americans shot at 50 times by police. Bell died from the shooting which occurred on his wedding day. The police were all found not guilty.

ENDNOTE: I just came across this CNN story of a racist anti-Obama t-shirt for sale. Disgusting.

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