Between The Lines

News and Analysis
For The Week Ending Sept. 1, 2000

Listen to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking here! Individual interview segments and news summary will be posted soon. (All in RealAudio, needs RealPlayer G2, 7 or 8).

This week we present Between The Lines' summary of under-reported news stories and:

Party Conventions Now Expensive Infomercials with Little Media Scrutiny
Interview by Scott Harris.
The two major party conventions, financed by millions of dollars from America's largest corporations, are finally over. Receiving less television airtime and fewer viewers than previous conventions, these tightly scripted events have in recent years been transformed into virtual infomercials, rather than the arena for heated political debates they used to be.

Both parties did their best to rush toward the political center, with the Republicans emphasizing George W. Bush's message of "compassionate conservatism" with their illusion of inclusion on stage and Al Gore's selection of Joseph Lieberman as his vice presidential candidate, one of the most conservative Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with syndicated columnist Norman Solomon, who assesses the Republican and Democratic party nominating conventions and corporate media's lack of critical coverage of these political extravaganzas.

Norman Solomon's weekly "Media Beat" column can be found on the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting Web site ( at

Arrested Ruckus Society Director Condemns Police Crackdown on Direct Action Protests
Interview by Scott Harris.

Thousands of activists took to the streets during the major party nominating conventions in Philadelphia and Los Angeles during the first part of August to focus attention on critical issues that they say neither the Republican or Democratic parties have seriously addressed. Both parties, protesters say, have been bought and paid for by the same set of giant transnational corporations undermining democracy.

While engaging in legal demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience, hundreds of protesters were arrested by police in both cities. Civil liberties lawyers alarmed at what they describe as law enforcement's overreaction to dissent this summer have criticized police surveillance, harassment and pre-emptive strikes against organizers. They also cite instances of police brutality and excessively high bail set for those arrested.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with John Sellers, director of the California-based Ruckus Society, which trains activists in direct action techniques. Sellers talks about his arrest during the GOP convention in Philadelphia, where he was accused of being a facilitator of violence and mayhem and held on $1 million bond, later reduced to $100,000.

Contact the Ruckus Society by calling (510) 848-9565 or visit their Web site at

Independent Media Centers a Voice for Global Social Justice Movement
Interview by Scott Harris.

While tens of thousands of activists gathered on the streets of Seattle during demonstrations against the World Trade Organization last winter, volunteer independent journalists fanned out across the city to document the action with video cameras, tape recorders and pen and paper. Unlike their corporate media counterparts, these reporters -- some freelance and others working with community media outlets -- were free of the restrictions of editors and advertisers who often instinctively shy away from fully covering these protests' militant anti-corporate message.

Via an Internet Web site, the Seattle Independent Media Center, and the many new independent centers that have sprung up afterward, distribute information through video, audio, photography and text chronicling the activities and analysis of a growing global social justice movement. The Seattle IMC was wildly successful, attracting more than a million "hits" daily during the protests from an audience anxious to bypass the corporate media spin.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Alan Minsky, general coordinator of the Los Angeles Independent Media Center, which covered the Democratic Party Convention. He discusses the philosophy behind the IMCs, which have been launched in more than two dozen major cities on four continents since last winter's Seattle WTO protests.

Visit IMC Web sites across the globe at:

This week's summary of under-reported news
Compiled from alternative media sources by Bob Nixon

  • Critics say transferring juvenile defendants to adult courts and jails creates more criminal recidivism. (The Boston Globe, Focus Section: July 2, 2000)
  • Al Gore's populist rhetoric undermined by his conservative economic policies.(The Nation, Aug. 21-28, 2000)
  • Colombia is the most dangerous place on earth to be a trade union activist. (In These Times: May 15, 2000)

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