In the best sense of the word a journalist is someone who brings to the public sphere accurate, well sourced information, and rigorous analysis. Those individuals speak for the marginalized, who can’t speak for themselves, and they expose the privileged, who are always given opportunities for expression. They point out the faults of those deemed too authoritative to be questioned. If an outlet claims to write all the news that is fit to print or declares that democracy dies in darkness, their work should be given more scrutiny than credibility. The journalist should be truly independent and skeptical of official narratives. Glen Ford was such a person. His decades of work provide a blueprint for anyone who wants that word to have real meaning and integrity.
Black Agenda Report
As 2021 comes to an end, and the U.S. approaches the one-million mark of American lives lost to Covid-19, I would think holiday celebrations should include more somber notes than usual. Instead of seeing street behavior that would acknowledge grieving over 800,000 people in the U.S. who have died of Covid-19, we witness the convulsions for survival in a society and nation that is imploding as the wealth gap stretches far beyond our imaginations. In a nation inundated with death, whether from school shootings, the up-tick in crime rampages, fentanyl overdoses, alongside Covid-19 deaths, those who have passed may or may not have received the deserved attention due to their lives and legacies.
Glen was a man whose voice thundered with the passion of justice, his keen eyes intensified by those round glasses that sat on the bridge of his strong nose right in front of his daunting intelligence, his word mastery and their unveiling of perceptions he gleaned from having been wounded by a culture bent against his people, against him personally, as when it deployed hitmen against his life’s work. It was a confirmation that he was on the right track when he and the Black Agenda Report family made the government’s blacklist of subversive publications. So there was anger. And clarity. And passion that combined to make Glen more than a little intimidating. There was his work ethic. His unrelenting discipline. His body of work. His insistence on excellence.
Ford identified his political and journalistic stance with both, having created the tagline: “News, commentary and analysis from the black left” for BAR. He was the consummate journalist, a man who demanded rigorous analysis of himself and others, and he lived by the dictum of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. Ford co-founded a publication in line with his core values: He did not suffer fools gladly, succumb to corporate media and government narratives, or feel obligated to change his politics in order to elevate the Black face in a high place.
Glen Ford, a veteran broadcast, print and digital journalist who hosted the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on TV before going on to found the Black Agenda Report website, has died, according to reports. He was 71 years old. Ford’s cause of death was not immediately reported. Several sources announced his death late Wednesday morning, including Margaret Kimberley, an editor and columnist at Black Agenda Report, the weekly news magazine that offers commentary and analysis from a Black perspective which Ford launched and served as its executive editor. Condolences began pouring in on social media once news of Ford’s death broke.
Bruce Dixon, who died last week, was a friend and colleague of Popular Resistance. He was one of the great political analysts and commentators as a co-founder and editor for Black Agenda Report. He taught us a great deal not only about issues and electoral politics but about organizing and mobilizing people. Bruce’s long career began when he was in high school and college and became active in the Black Panther Party under Fred Hampton, who was assassinated by the police. Bruce was involved in electoral politics in Chicago and went on to become a leader of the Georgia Green Party as well as a delegate to the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States. Most recently, Bruce was the co-chair of the Howie Hawkins 2020 Presidential Campaign.