Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Judge Judy is Better

The network that I watch most often is MSNBC, not because it’s any good, but because it is less bad than the others. I watch Hardball mostly as a form of entertainment, and The Last Word, which is shaping up to be actually fairly informative. I cannot handle the smugness and endless giggling of Rachael Maddow, and here’s an example of why I don’t watch
Ed Shultz, an excerpt of a discussion by him regarding world food pricing,

We don’t notice price hikes so much because most of our food prices come from marketing and packaging. But in the developing world, the price of food is everything.

Will somebody please tell me what the hell that first sentence means? It appears to me that he needed a reason why Egyptians are rioting over food cost increases and Americans are not, and he just pulled something out of his ass. He then does not even blink when a guest comes on following his lengthy diatribe about how it has been “Wall Street speculating” that has driven up food prices world wide and tells him that, actually, inflation has been the major factor in that price rise.

Inflation, of course doesn’t officially exist in the United States, because the government omits from the calculation of inflation anything that might be rising in cost, like fuel, food and basic commodities. The fact that your grocery bill is higher than it used to be is not due to inflation, it’s merely because food has become more expensive.

Andrea Mitchell, who annoys the hell out of me but who frequently knows what she’s talking about, described the same issue somewhat differently. To paraphrase,

In this country food accounts for barely over 10% of our budget, so a rise in the cost of food does not affect us so much. But for the people in nations like Egypt, where food consumes 40% and even 50% of income, that rise in cost can make the difference between being hungry and starving.

She knew there was a difference in the impact, but she had the intelligence and took the time to find out what that difference was, so that she could report informatively.

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