Lester Holt auditions to become the first national black male news anchor since Max Robinson anchored “The World News Tonight” on ABC News

Brian Williams

Byron Pitts                                

Russ Mitchell                        

Max Robinson        

Ed Bradley

The best advice my Grandmother ever gave me when I became a community/radio personality, she said, “Son I want you to always tell the truth, because a lie will change a thousand times, the truth never changes”.  Grandma Bell knew best and that is how I have lived my life in the media spotlight.

It is evident that NBC News Anchor Brian Williams’ Grandmother never sit him down and gave him that same kind of advice.

“I don’t know the particulars about that day in Iraq. I do know Brian. He’s a longtime friend and we have been in a number of war zones and on the same battlefields, competing but together,” Dan Rather told Deadline.Com.  “Brian is an honest decent man, an excellent reporter and anchor – and a brave one. I can attest that – like his predecessor Tom Brokaw – he is a superb pro, and a gutsy one.”

We must remember Rather was forced to resign from his CBS newscast in 2005 after it turned out a report on President George W. Bush’s Vietnam-era National Guard service was based on forged documents.

Media columnist and others like them are also speaking out on the lies that Williams made up about being in a helicopter that he was in a helicopter that was under attack in Iraq by enemy fire in 2003.  The next lie uncovered was, while he was on assignment in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, he said “I saw a dead body floating down the street from my hotel room window”.

The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik led his column with: “If credibility means anything to NBC News, Brian Williams will no longer be managing editor and anchor of the evening newscast by the end of the day Friday.”

I totally agree with Mr. Zurawik, there is no way we should see Brian Williams anchor the news again, credibility is everything and it is the only thing a reporter can hang his hat on at the end of the day is his credibility mixed with integrity and honesty.

NBC News President Deborah Turness announced there would be a probe in an internal memo on Friday.  Williams has expressed his regrets to his colleagues for the impact the episode has had—too little too late!

If anyone of the above reporters, Byron Pitts, Russ Mitchell, the late Max Robinson or the late Ed Bradley were caught lying as it related to a news report–they would be fired immediately.  My friend Max Robinson was at the top of his game on the local news here in Washington, DC and as the first black to be named a news anchor for ABC News.  His life style off the air lead to his early demise (age 49) but his integrity in reporting the news was never in question.  I have fond memories of Max because he believed in me and Inside Sports.

Max and I would see each other in passing at different community/media functions around town during his TV News career here in DC.  In fact, I really never knew if he knew who I was until he left for Chicago.  There he would become the first black to anchor a national televised news show, ABC World News Tonight.   I was in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia attending the annual CIAA (Central Intercollegian Athletic Association) basketball tournament in 1986.  I was staying at the downtown Marriott and remember him walking into the restaurant where I was having breakfast. He was with his parents.  He nodded at me in recognition and I nodded back at him.  A few minutes later he waved me over to the table to introduce me to his parents.  The introduction almost knocked me off of my feet.  He said, “Harold I want you to meet my mom and dad, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson.  Harold Bell has the best sports talk show in Washington, DC and when I want to know what is really going on in sports I listen to him”.

I remember Washington Post sports columnist Donald Huff once writing, “Harold Bell gets his ratings off the streets of Washington”! I had just received another rating from Max Robinson.

Ed Bradley of CBS 60 Minutes walked around the CBS studios like it his home away from home.  You could see and hear in his voice and in his body language he was happy in the skin that he was in.  He was a pro’s pro and he was not intimidated by the white power structure at CBS. During his 26 year career at CBS he won 19 Emmy Awards.

A Fox News analyst, Howard Kurtz, said, “The admission raises serious questions about his credibility in a business that values that quality above all else.” On CNN’s “New Day,” the host Chris Cuomo said that attributing the lie to “the fog of war” wasn’t acceptable and the Internet would “eat him alive.” Rem Rieder, a USA Today media columnist, wrote, “It’s hard to see how Williams gets past this, and how he survives as the face of NBC News.”

When long time local W-U-S-A TV 9 veteran reporter J.C. Haywood’s name got caught up in a recent Charter School financial scandal, the handwriting was on the wall–she lost all credibility in the Washington community.  It did not matter if she was guilty or not her time was up–no credibility.

Lost in the shuffle are the class acts and pros like Byron Pitts and Russ Mitchell who seem to be stuck at the proverbial glass ceiling.  It seems strange that Ed Bradley has been dead for all most 10 years and 60 Minutes the popular magazine show has not been able to find someone of color for the Sunday evening time slot?  Enter, Byron Pitts and Russ Mitchell waiting in the wings for a call that would never come from the CBS brass.

60 MINUTES THE NUMBER ONE MAGAZINE TV SHOW IN AMERICA: ZERO black reporters (Ed Bradley never again).  They did have lurking in the shadows relief pitchers named Byron Pitts and Russ Mitchell.  Byron told CBS News recently “Goodbye” and switched to ABC NEWS.  The reason, he could not get the producers to air any his stories—too black?  The 60 Minute producers have since  brought INSIDE THE NFL host James Brown in as a token black every now and then.  He adds a little color to the program–he will go along to get along and he is safe!

Mitchell a popular CBS weekend anchor cleaned his desk out in December 2011.  He took a job at NBC affiliate WKYC television in Cleveland.  Mitchell was wrapping up his tenure as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” weekend editions and the “The Early Show” on Saturday.  He was also a national correspondent for “CBS News Sunday Morning,” the weeknight editions of the “CBS Evening News” and “The Early Show.”

Mitchell had been passed over so much at CBS he was beginning to feel like QB Tim Tebow.  First, it was Katie Couric and then it was Scott Pellet as the CBS Evening News anchor.

In the meantime, As NBC’s weekend anchor, Lester Holt has been named to replace Williams while NBC checks how hot the heat is in the kitchen to replace Williams.   “Holt is kind of like Williams’ vice president, so he’d be the default choice,” says Bob Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University.  Brian Steinberg, senior TV editor for, agrees, calling Holt the obvious choice.  “He is more often doing the job when Brian is not. He fills in for Brian. When Brian’s in the field, Lester is in the chair,” he says.

Black men have become almost invisible as television news anchors.  It has become the American Way.  If NBC makes the decision to replace Williams Holt would almost be a lock with black male anchors already being locked out of the television news market.  NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, CNN are already view as “The Last Plantations”.  It is said, the most segregated place other then a church on Sunday morning, is a news room at deadline.

If you don’t think it is big problem with black reporters and anchor men in major media markets, here are some stats for you to chew on as it relates to the television Black Out

HEADLINE NEWS REPORTERS: 25 (no black men)

FOX NEWS REPORTERS: 42 (one black man)

CNN NEWS REPORTERS: 26 (2 black men)

MSNBC & NBC: 21 (no black men)

CNBC: 11 (no black men)

TOTAL: 125 REPORTERS (3 black men)

Note worthy: These stats will need to be updated

The NABJ (National Association of Black Journalist) is another organization that is crying cry “Foul” several years ago they called for a meeting with the Presidents of the major news networks as it relates to the Blackout of black reporters.  The network Presidents ignored them with “No comment”  God bless the child that has his own and  the NABJ needs a timeout to clean up its own house before they try to clean up another’s house!

CNN ran a human interest story about a black woman who was still driving at the age of 103.  In the closing segment a rap song was hear in the background playing and using the words, “nigga, nigga, I am mf nigga!!!”  The station apologized claiming it was all a mistake. 

The negative images we see and hear on television as it relates to black people can be attributed to no black producers, anchors, and reporters in the studio.  Major Media and the NFL, NBA, MLB and the NHL are still “The Last Plantations in America”.

Mike Greenberg is the co-host on Mike & Mike radio and television morning sports talk show heard Mon-Fri on ESPN.  He was heard during the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday saying “Happy Birthday to Dr. Martin Luther Koon!”  He also claim it was a mistake.  It is here the double standard occurs, ESPN’S Ron Parker said during a debate about Redskin QB RG III, “We know he has a white girlfriend, is he a corn head brother or what?”  ESPN suspended him and then fired him!  The crime didn’t fit the punishment according to ESPN’s track record.  The only comparison is the punishment for distribution of crack cocaine and cocaine distribution.  One sentence is given for a black distributing crack and another sentence for a white distributing cocaine when they are both the same?  Justice & Just Us! 

My impact on sports talk media has been global, every radio and television sports talk show you see and hear is a copy of the Original Inside Sports format, and those sports media outlets include, ESPN’s, Sports Reporters, Outside the Lines, HBO’s Real Sports, Inside the NFL, etc.  

In the 50s Earl Lloyd was the first black player to play in an NBA game.  He was heard on ESPN Radio several years ago during an interview with host and former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson.  My name came into the conversation and Earl said, “Harold Bell may be controversial but I have yet to hear anyone call him a liar”.  Thanks Grandma Bell and stay tune. 


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