Pressure Mounts on WABC for Byrd as Gil Noble's replacement

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[On The Media]

The most recent edition of “ Here and Now”  that aired on WABC TV Sunday, October 30th in the time slot formerly held by Gil Noble’s, award winning show “Like It Is,” was in some ways the worst of  three shows that have been aired in that slot since Gil Noble’s retirement.

Part of the reason may be the fact that two of the guests scheduled to be on the show, A.T. Mitchell of Man Up Inc., and New York State Senator, Eric Adams  refused to cross the CEMOTAP picket line of over 100  “Like It Is,” supporters marching in front of WABC TV at the time the show was being taped.

Adams and Mitchell had been scheduled to be guests on that show to discuss the NYPD “Stop and Frisk” campaign in the Black Community, one of the four topics discussed on the Oct. 30th show. Other topics were dental health, infant mortality and diabetes. The limitations inherent in the topics coupled with superficial discussion and limited perspective  did little to
help. The primary reason for the poor quality of the show, however, was the absence of  Gil Noble  or a Gil Noble type  host such as Gary Byrd.

“Gil would have asked questions that could elicit the relationship of infant mortality of poor communities in New York to infant mortality in depressed regions of  Africa and other parts of the so called Third World," said
Dr. James McIntosh, CEMOTAP co-chair. "He might have explored the role racism,  drugs, chemicals and other man made toxic environmental factors in Black communities world wide to the  higher rate of Infant mortality for Blacks worldwide. He certainly would have tied the issue of 'stop and frisk' to prevailing social conditions. Perhaps he would have explored the possibility that  the spate of shootings in the Black community of New York City can be traced  to guns sold by cops. Gil would not have missed the irony of the  recent revelations  that  NYPD cops  are selling illegal guns to outright criminals at the same time they are conducting a stop and frisk program searching 100 overwhelmingly innocent Black youth for every 6 they can even issue so much as a summons."

“If the current leadership of WABC TV does not hire a replacement for Gil that is familiar with the Black community’s history and social conditions, the community will probably never have issues such as gun running police, even  mentioned in a  discussion of crime in the Black Community much less explored in depth,” added
Betty Dopson, CEMOTAP co-chair.

The “Here and Now” perspective also insures that there will not be an examination of anything beyond the shores of North America. The lynching of Moumar Ghaddafi on the watch of a U.S. President of African ancestry,  for instance, is a 10,000  pound elephant in the room begging for discussion, but without a  Gil Noble type, the geographical  limitation and  historical
disconnection  will continue.

The title “Here and Now,” in itself suggests that WABC TV will stick to superficial and safe non-controversial topics, such as dental health, infant mortality and diabetes, health issues that Whites think are Black people's biggest problem. Future programs can be expected to be similar. WABC probably has a discussion on asthma planned. Program producers may well ask, aren’t these rampant illnesses relevant to the Black Community? Yes, they are, but the host must be able to help the guests explain the "why" that comes with it.

The station should hire Imhotep Gary Byrd right away so that issues can be discussed in  historical context,  with perspective and depth.  "For those who don’t understand,” McIntosh said, "It’s a Billie Holiday moment, ‘Don’t Explain’ Just tell them what the demonstrators at WABC TV chanted,  ‘Get in Step with Imhotep.’”

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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