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Posted March 31, 2010

Between The Lines
For The Week Ending April 9, 2010



Between The Lines presents
Select Left Forum Audio MP3s
Pace University, New York, NY
For more details, visit

Click here for these forums:
  • Lessons from Latin American Social Movements for a US in Crisis (1:06:30)
  • Reimagining Society: The Nature of the Task (1:16:15)
  • Going Undercover: The Yes Men and Gumshoe Journalists Discuss Subterfuge and Satire in Activism and Investigative Journalism (1:06:04)
  • The Future of Labor in the U.S. (1:09:12)


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

Jobs Crisis Demands Obama Take Aggressive Action

 RealAudio  MP3

Interview with Vic Fingerhut,
political polling and media consultant,
conducted by Scott Harris


The most urgent issue for the majority of Americans today is record high unemployment, triggered by an economic downturn not seen since the depths of the Great Depression. Although the official unemployment rate in March stood at 9.7 percent, many economists agree that the real unemployment rate is closer to 16.8 percent, a figure that includes those jobless workers who have given up looking for work and -- part-time workers who continue to seek full-time positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics more than 40 percent of the nation's 14.9 million unemployed workers have been out of a job for 27 weeks or longer.

While the unemployment rate may dip slightly in the next month or so and some indicators such as consumer confidence are inching up, there is general agreement that the nation should expect only a slow and painful recovery. The bad economy has stoked anger at Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, seen in public opinion polls that finds both parties with low approval ratings and anti-incumbent sentiment which leads many voters to say, "Throw ALL the bums out!"

After winning congressional approval for his $787 billion stimulus package in February 2009, President Obama has been reluctant to pump substantial amounts of money into the jobless economy, fearing that the Republicans will use the escalating deficit to make political gains in the 2010 midterm elections. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Vic Fingerhut, a political polling and media consultant, who worked for the presidential campaigns of Democrats Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale. He discusses the urgent need for President Obama to aggressively address the U.S. unemployment crisis or face a voter backlash in the November 2010 congressional elections.

Read Vic Fingerhut's article, "Obama and the State of Democrats," online at

Related Links:

U.S. Media's Coverage of Health Care Debate
Focused on Politics, Not Substance

 RealAudio  MP3

Interview with Eric Boehlert,
senior fellow with Media Matters for America,
conducted by Scott Harris


In the recently concluded congressional debate over healthcare reform legislation, emotions ran high. The name calling, scare tactics and misinformation spread by opponents of virtually all reform measures was extremely effective in leading the public to be very fearful of what reform would mean for them and their own health insurance plans. "Astroturf" groups, funded by corporate interests, took advantage of people's natural suspicion of change and created a media savvy strategy of organizing small, but loud protests at congressional town hall meetings last summer which had a lasting impact on the debate.

In the days leading up to passage of health care reform and President Obama signing the bill into law on March 23, right-wing Tea Party activists, encouraged by some of their allies in the Republican party, let loose with a barrage of insults, racial slurs and dozens of death threats targeting congressional Democrats who voted for the measure. The FBI and local police also investigated a number of acts of vandalism and violence directed at pro-reform Democrats' offices and homes.

Now that the dust is beginning to settle in the health care debate, some media outlets for the first time are working to separate fact from fiction about what the new health reform law will mean to individual citizens and their families. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Eric Boehlert, a senior fellow with Media Matters for America, who examines the corporate press corps' performance in covering the health care reform debate.

Eric Boehlert is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press rolled Over for Bush." Read Boehlert's articles online at

Related links:

Palestinian Disunity a Major Obstacle
for Restarting Middle East Peace Talks

 RealAudio  MP3

Excerpt of a talk by Rashid Khalidi,
Palestinian scholar and the Edward Said professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University,
recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus


Tensions in the Middle East are again on the rise as the rift between Israel and the Obama administration continues over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to halt settlement-building in Arab East Jerusalem. Non-violent protests have escalated in the West Bank, followed by a severe crackdown by Israeli occupation forces. Meanwhile rockets fired from the Gaza Strip by a faction not affiliated with the ruling Hamas Party, recently killed a foreign worker in an Israeli border town -- the first such death since the end of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in January 2009.

Against this backdrop, Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian scholar and the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, spoke at the Yale Law School on March 25. He mostly addressed the internal problems of the two major Palestinian political movements, Fatah and Hamas came into open conflict after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian Authority legislative elections. Fighting erupted between the two groups in May 2007 which resulted in Hamas taking control of Gaza and Fatah governing the West Bank.

In his talk Khalidi examined the corruption of Fatah and the inflammatory anti-Israel rhetoric of Hamas, which he says presents major obstacles to any hope for the Palestinian people to achieve either a two-state or a one-state solution. The following excerpt of his hour-long talk examines the split between Palestinians and the prospect for restarting peace negotiations with Israel.

Rashid Khalidi, he is the author of several books including, "Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East." This segment was recorded and produced by Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus.

Related links:
This week's summary
of under-reported news

 RealAudio  MP3

Compiled by Bob Nixon

Executive producer: Scott Harris
Segment producers: Scott Harris, Melinda Tuhus
Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
Program narration: Denise Manzari
News reader: Indu Anand
Senior web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Web producers: Jeffrey P. Yates and Gil Gilmore
Web consultant: Gary Trujillo
Newswire editors: Hank Hoffman
Photo editor: Scott Harris
Outreach coordinator: Anna Manzo
Distribution: Anna Manzo and Jeffrey P. Yates
'Reading Between The Lines' bloggers: Reggie Johnson and Anna Manzo
Between The Lines Q&A editorial assistant: Melanie Muller
Theme music: Written by Richard Hill and Jody Gray, and performed by Mikata

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Last Week's Program

Between The Lines Week Ending 4/2/10

Between The Lines' Blog

"Reading Between The Lines"

U.S. Politics

"The President's Lawyer," by Scott Horton, Harper's, March 30, 2010

"Insurers to Comply With New Rules for Children," The New York Times, March 30, 2010

"Obama in a Bomber Jacket," by Norman Solomon, Truthout, March 29, 2010

"Our Turn For a National Breakdown?," by James Howard Kunstler, Truthout, March 29, 2010

"Big Pharma Wins Big With Health Care Reform Bill," Associated Press, March 29, 2010

"Maine blazes a trail in funding: Clean election system popular," Boston Globe, March 29, 2010

"Welcome to Glennbeckistan : Where the Tea Party Rules and Tea-hadis Roam," by Tom Engelhardt & Chip Ward, TomDispatch, March 28, 2010

"Court Strikes Limits on contributions to Independent Political Groups," Washington Post, March 26, 2010

More newswire ...


"Banking on hypocrisy," by Elizabeth Warren, Politico, March, 30, 2010

"Bank Lobbyists Fought For Very Thing They're Now Trying To Kill, Says Elizabeth Warren," by Shahien Nasiripour, Huffington Post, March, 30, 2010

"Economist Dean Baker: Banks Could Be Big Winners of President Obama's Foreclosure Prevention Program," Democracy Now!, March, 29, 2010

"Obama Packs Debt Commission with Social Security Looters," by Matthew Skomarovsky, AlterNet, March, 28, 2010

"Bank of America, Wells Fargo Probably Won't Pay Income Tax for 2009," Charlotte Observer (North Carolina), March, 27, 2010

"Economist Who Foretold First Housing Bubble Says, 'Beware,'" Center for Economic & Policy Research, March, 26, 2010

"HUD Study: Rent Assistance Cheaper Than Shelters," Houston Chronicle, March 26, 2010

"A Bold U.S. Plan to Help Struggling Homeowners," The New York Times, March 26, 2010

More newswire ...

Bush Accountability

"Inside the Salt Pit," by Scott Horton, Harper's, March 29, 2010

"Torture Diaries, Drawings and the Special Prosecutor," by Jason Leopold, Truthout, March 29, 2010

"KBR on Trial - At Last," by Karen Houppert, The Nation Investigative Fund, March 27, 2010

More newswire ...

International Affairs

"Israel Threatens Lebanon: A New Middle East War?," by Conn Hallinan, Counterpunch, March 30, 2010

"Gladio: A Conspiracy So Large, It's Time You Learned About It," by Jeff Kaye, Invictus, March 28, 2010

"Welcoming a CIA Official at Fordham," by Debra Sweet, Consortium News, March 28, 2010

"Obama, Medvedev Seal Deal on Nuclear Arms Pact," Reuters, March 26, 2010

"No Change on Jerusalem Policy: Netanyahu," Agence France Presse, March 26, 2010

More newswire ...

"Postwar" Occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan

"Pacified: Atrocities in Afghanistan," by Kathy Kelly, Truthout, March 30, 2010

"Iraqi commission moves to disqualify winning candidates," McClatchy Newspapers, March 29, 2010

"Afghan Leader Is Seen to Flout Influence of U.S.," The New York Times, March 29, 2010

"Tehran's Coup in Iraq?," by Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation, March 28, 2010

"Afghanistan: Nato to launch Kandahar assault in June," Telegraph/UK, March 28, 2010

"US Troop Deaths Double in Afghanistan," Associated Press, March 28, 2010

"Exiled Iraqi sheikh may hold key to power in Iraq," Guardian/UK, March 28, 2010

"Sadrists Pivotal Party, Vows Liberation of Iraq from Foreigners," by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, March 28, 2010

"An Unaccustomed Truth: American Commander Admits Afghan Atrocities," by Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque, March 27, 2010

"Kandahar, a Battlefield Even Before U.S. Offensive," The New York Times, March 26, 2010

More newswire ...

Civil Liberties/ Human Rights

"CNN poll: Americans favor keeping Guantanamo concentration camp open," McClatchy Newspapers, March 30, 2010

"US Recants Claims on "High-Value" Detainee Abu Zubaydah," by Jason Leopold, Truthout, March 30, 2010

"Slahi: Another Habeas Defeat for the Justice Department," by Scott Horton, Harper's, March 29, 2010

"Court OKs Repeated Tasering of Pregnant Woman," by David Kravets, Wired, March 29, 2010

"Rift in Obama Counterterrorism Policy?," by Scott Horton, Harper's, March 29, 2010

"Cautionary tale from CIA prison," Associated Press, March 28, 2010

"Obama Team Is Divided on Anti-Terror Tactics," The New York Times, March 28, 2010

"The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, March 27, 2010

More newswire ...

Environment and Sustainability

Pesticide Lobbyist Gets Posted as Chief Agricultural Negotiator," by Paula Crossfield, Civil Eats, March 30, 2010

"US oil company donated millions to climate sceptic groups, says Greenpeace," Guardian/UK, March 30, 2010

"Among Weathercasters, Doubt on Warming," New York Times, March 29, 2010

"Forests May Depend on Survival of Native People," Inter Press Service, March 29, 2010

"Landmarks go Dark, Millions Unplug for Earth Hour," Associated Press, March 27, 2010

"UN: Global Deforestation Slows, Forests Still Lost at 'Alarming Rate,'" BBC News, March 25, 2010

More newswire ...

Media Issues

"Technology Coalition Seeks Stronger Privacy Laws," The New York Times, March 30, 2010

"Mike McConnell, the WashPost & the dangers of sleazy corporatism," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, March 29, 2010

"Jeremy Scahill Says 'We're at a Ground Zero Moment to Save Real Journalism,'" by Byard Duncan, AterNet, March 29, 2010

"The Collapse of Journalism / the Journalism of Collapse," by Robert Jensen, Counterpunch, March 26-28, 2010

"How Bias at the NYT Helped Kill ACORN," by Laura Flanders, Counterpunch, March 26-28, 2010

More newswire ...


"Immigrants on the March," by Gabriel Thompson, The Nation, March 25, 2010

More newswire ...

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