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Remember 'Hunger in America?' It’s still here

SHOWCASE | December 07, 2008

There was a moment when the press took poverty seriously. And as advocate for the poor Joel Berg describes in his new book, that press attention, back in the 1960s, had a profound, positive impact on public policy. (A book excerpt.)

By Joel Berg

We are in the midst of yet another holiday season during which the mainstream news media only briefly notice that there is hunger in America. There is almost no attention to the fact that the U.S. has by far the highest level of food insecurity among industrialized Western nations. Some 36.2 million Americans, including 12 million children, live in households that can’t afford enough food. There is almost no examination of concrete steps the government could take to end the problem, such as raising the minimum wage and expanding safety net programs. Instead, news organizations are once again obsessed with the activities of a few celebrities who serve holiday turkeys or pack some bags of donated food.

The media weren’t always so trvial. I’ve just had published a new book, called All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America? In it I describe a time when the press and TV dealt with hunger in a far more serious manner. And, as I show in the book, that serious media attention had a profound, positive impact upon public policy.

The following chapter excerpt from the book might be taken as a plea for the media to once again tackle such important issues in a substantive way.
-- Joel Berg

Chapter 11

How Media Ignore Hunger (Except During Holidays and Hurricanes)

I don’t know which is worse, a press that is censored, or one that doesn’t need to be.”                    -- Abbie Hoffman

When I watch TV over my dinner at night, I see a world in which almost everyone makes $15 an hour or more … so it’s easy for a fast-food worker or a nurse’s aide to conclude that she is an anomaly -- the only one, or almost the only one, who hasn’t been invited to the party.”  
                -- Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed 

When, in 2003, the media trumpeted news that the national economy had just expanded by 7.2 percent, it reminded me of the exchange in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, in which a young Alvie Singer says he is depressed because the “universe is expanding.” Alvie’s mother responds: “What has the universe got to do with it? You’re here in Brooklyn!  Brooklyn is not expanding!”

You would have been hard-pressed in 2003 to find evidence that the economy was expanding in either Brooklyn (where I live), the rest of New York City, or anywhere in America. Unemployment and underemployment were high, wages for most workers were flat, and the number of people forced to utilize food pantries and soup kitchens was soaring.

It made more sense to me when, in the same week, the federal government released the annual USDA food insecurity statistics, which showed that the number of Americans who faced the threat of hunger in 2002 rose by 13 percent.

Which of these two statistics was more meaningful?

Well, the expanding economy hadn’t yet created one single new job that wasn’t offset by the loss of at least one existing job. And meanwhile, the increase in hunger left a total of 34.9 million Americans that year without a steady, secure source of food -- the third year in a row that food insecurity in America grew. The statistic on the expanding economy covered only three months, but the hunger statistic covered a whole year.

Hmm, that’s a tough call.

So, which statistic received more attention from the media? The expanding economy, of course. Neither CBS, NBC ABC, The New York Times, nor The Washington Post reported on the hunger study.

Hunger in America? Not on the Evening News

For much of the modern media age -- before the relatively recent rise of cable TV and the Internet -- the single greatest sign of whether an issue had permeated the consciousness of the American people was whether it was covered on the national network evening TV news shows....

An issue gets a great amount of media coverage when an issue is, in the judgment of the media, “hot,” but virtually no coverage the rest of the time, even when, from a substantive standpoint, the issue is still vital to tens of millions of Americans. Coverage surged in 1969, when Congress held a major hunger hearing and President Nixon sponsored a hunger conference, and then plummeted to virtually nothing in most of the years since. Out of the 77 network news stories over this 37-year time period, 25 were in 1969 and 13 were in 1983 and 10 were in 1984 (two years in which there were major controversies over Reagan hunger policies). While these three years constituted only eight percent of the years in that time period, they had a whopping 62 percent of the hunger stories. In contrast, in 27 out of the 37 years, there was not a single network news story on hunger. There was not one story in the 14 years between 1969 and 1983, despite the fact that this period had the greatest concentrated growth in federal anti-hunger programs in US history. There was not a single story in 1987, the first full year of national welfare reform implementation. And there was not one story in the first five years of George W. Bush’s administration, despite the very significant hunger increases during that time.

To be sure, there were still occasional flashes of journalistic courage. On the evening of February 25, 1985, John Chancellor reported on the national NBC Evening News that 25 million Americans were hungry and that the problem was getting worse. Chancellor, obviously moved by the extent of hunger, warned that the “veneer of civilization seems to have worn very thin.”

But as the years went by, even the few times the media did cover the issue, it stopped assuming, as the 1960s media coverage overwhelmingly did, that it was government’s role to solve the problem. In the 1960s, the media’s direct or implicit question was: “How can a country this wealthy let children go hungry?” By the Reagan era and for many subsequent years, the implicit question asked by the media became:  “Why are all these undeserving people getting benefits with our tax dollars?” Those changing attitudes influenced -- and were influenced by -- the changing attitudes of elected officials and the public.

In a 2007 study of network evening news broadcasts over more than three years, the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) found the following in a study of weeknight news broadcasts on CBS, NBC, and ABC:

During the more than three years studied, there were just 58 stories about poverty on the three network newscasts, including just 191 quoted sources. For perspective, a FAIR study of network newscasts found that in just one year (2001), the three networks included a total of 14,632 sources. Assuming that the nightly news still features a like number of sources per year, that would amount to some 46,000 sources over the 38 months of FAIR’s study, making sources appearing in poverty stories just 0.4 percent of overall sources…. Driving home poverty’s low rank as a news priority is the fact that fewer nightly news segments were dedicated to it than to millionaire pop star Michael Jackson. During a study period that saw 58 stories about poverty, the three network programs dedicated 69 stories to Jackson’s legal woes. Of the three networks, only NBC aired more stories on poverty than on Michael Jackson (25 to 24). Moreover, in 2005, the year that saw the Katrina disaster and the culmination of Jackson’s rather less consequential trial, the networks deemed the pop star’s legal problems twice as newsworthy as the economic plight of tens of millions of poor citizens, running 44 stories on Michael Jackson to 22 for poverty.

When I am most troubled with this disparity, I console myself with the memory that, once upon a time, Michael Jackson gave the world Thriller.

In 2008, in response to the recession and soaring food prices, the mainstream media did again start reporting on rising hunger. But they seemed obsessed with highlighting stories of individual middle class families, who formerly donated food to pantries, who had lost jobs and now needed help from such programs, even though, in truth, such occurrences were relatively rare. The media didn’t seem nearly as interested in the reality that millions of Americans who were previously poor and hungry had become poorer and hungrier...

The New York Times -- like much of society in today’s Gilded Age -- is beset by glaring paradoxes. For instance, on October 15, 2007, the paper ran a probing and insightful news story on African famine, but the article was surrounded by ads for the following products: Chanel J 12 GMT watch ($8,500); a Louis Vuitton Duomo in Damier canvas bag ($1,200); a pair of Gucci men’s boots ($850); TAG Heuer Aquaracer Steel and Gold 18K watch with diamonds ($3,000); a piece of Cartier diamond-crusted jewelry (price not listed); a Tiffany & Co. watch with all sorts of diamonds (no price listed -- clearly falls into the “if-you-gotta-ask…” category); a Saks Fifth Avenue Tevrow + Chase dress ($445); Mikimoto pearls and gold ($3,980); Brooks Brothers made-to-measure suits (at least $900 each); and a Steuben Glass “Our Town” with a photo of the New York skyline etched into it ($8,500).

My all-time favorite ad in The Times, for a private jet, posed the question: “How cool would it be to fly to Palm Beach in your own private jet?” My answer: very cool.

Hard to imagine that The Times and other similar publications don’t focus more on the lives of low-income Americans, huh?

News executives sometimes piously insist that such ads geared toward the rich don’t affect who or what they cover, but just as any good reporter would roll his or her eyes when  politicians say that campaign contributions don’t affect their voting record, we should roll our eyes when the media deny the influence of advertisers.

Add to that bias the extreme consolidation of the local and national news media into ownership by just a handful of giant corporations and the problem is magnified. While most American cities previously had at least two competing daily newspapers (with one or more owned locally), most cities now only have one daily newspaper, usually owned by a major national chain. In New York City, the two leading news radio stations (WCBS and WINS) are now both owned by the same company. Consequently, all mainstream media are reporting on -- or failing to report on -- the same issues. …

Ignoring Poverty and Hunger

Given that the media cater to the advertisers of luxury products, and further given that people employed in the media mostly earn well above poverty wages, it is not surprising that the media usually overlook poverty and hunger. To be sure, there are exceptions to the rule (such as the compelling series on hunger by The Columbus Dispatch, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and The Dallas Morning News) -- as well as hard-hitting features on NPR and PBS and in the excellent print stories cited in this book -- but most of the mainstream media simply ignore these issues, except for obligatory holiday stories that make it seem as though charity will solve the problem.

Assignment editors just don’t seem to take these issues seriously. Loretta Schwartz Nobel recalled that early in her writing career, as an intern at Philadelphia Magazine, when she suggested to her editor that she write a story on the local hunger problem, “He laughed and said there was no hunger in our city, that the only problem was that people in Philadelphia were eating too much.”

In November 2007, when the Bush administration belatedly released the annual federal hunger numbers, AP and Reuters ran detailed stories on this major development, but not a syllable on the subject was printed in either The Washington Post or The New York Times. Of course, I e-mailed detailed letters complaining to editors at both The Times and The Post -- pointing out that the issue directly affected tens of millions of Americans -- but never received a response from either.

Few if any of the major national media outlets maintain a “poverty beat,” even though 36.5 million Americans live in poverty. In contrast, the major media collectively have hundreds of reporters on business, sports, and entertainment beats.

In coverage of other topics, the closer-to-home an event occurs, the more news coverage it attracts. That’s certainly true for natural disasters and terrorist attacks. But this is not the case for hunger and poverty issues, where some of the media elite are actually more likely to cover international poverty and hunger than those conditions locally. Perhaps the reason is that international poverty is always someone else’s fault, but if we take an honest look at domestic poverty and hunger, they might prove to be our fault.

In March of 2008, The New York Times assigned 32 different reporters to cover the Governor Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal, but did not assign even one reporter to cover an oversight hearing of the City Council held on the same day, which discussed the budgets for three large city agencies which collectively manage all child protection, Medicaid, hunger, homeless services, and welfare programs that support millions of New Yorkers. In contrast, the Daily News did cover the hearing, reporting how the council was opposing the Mayor’s proposal to slash funding for pantries and kitchens...

Presidential Campaigns

The reporting on the 2008 Presidential campaign provides an example of how the major media cover up not only the existence of hunger and poverty, but hide the fact that the public actually does care about those issues.

In more than 20 debates in the Democratic primary season, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and low-wage work were barely raised by media moderators, even after both Edwards and Obama raised the issue. In a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News in December 2007, in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, when asked which issues mattered to them most, neither poverty, hunger, nor homelessness were even listed as choices.  If the poll simply asked an open-ended question, and few voters volunteered either of those issues, then I’d have no complaint. But the poll actually provided a list of 20 issues and didn’t include poverty or related issues. Right after the poll was conducted, The Times ran a front page, above the fold graphic that listed the issues most important to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, but of course, since poverty was not on the list of questions, it was not on the graphic of answers.

Yet a CNN national poll, conducted just a week before, asked voters to rank issue importance and did include poverty as an option. Here’s what it found:


Importance to Americans in determining their vote for President

Economy 82%
The situation in Iraq 80%
Health care 76%
Terrorism 76%
The situation in Iran 73%
Gas prices 67%
Poverty and homelessness 65%
Taxes 63%
Illegal immigration 61%
Global warming 48%
Abortion 46%
Gun policy 46%
Policies twd. gays and lesbians 27%

Far more Americans chose poverty and homelessness as pressing issues than taxes, illegal immigration, abortion, gun policy, or global warming.  Yet the media coverage told us far more about the candidates’ positions on immigration, abortion, gun control, and global warming than it did on poverty and homelessness.

Class Biases in Reporting

In 2004, Brent Cunningham wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review that “today’s journalists are more isolated than ever from the lives of poor and working-class Americans.” It shows. Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne told the Review, “I actually think there’s structural bias in the media against the poor. Newspapers are built to cover the wealthy and famous much more than they are built to cover the working class and the poor.”

In the rare instances in which reporters raise the topic of welfare, they particularly expose their bias. In a 2000 Republican Presidential debate, CNN reporter Judy Woodruff asked the following question of a religious conservative candidate, former ambassador Alan Keyes:

Mr. Ambassador, a central target of your campaign has been what you called the moral crisis gripping this country. And yet…over the last six, seven, eight years, the abortion rate is down, teen pregnancy rate is down, welfare rolls are down, violent crime rate is down. Now, granted, none of these are acceptable. They’re all too high. But my question is, given all of these trends, are you prepared to give the current administration some credit for these very clear improvements?

I wonder how Woodruff based her judgment that the welfare rolls -- which had just been slashed -- were “too high.” What level would she claim is “acceptable”? Also, notice how welfare is equated with violent crime, a common juxtaposition in the media.

In a 2006 piece on Mayor Bloomberg in The New York Times Magazine, Jonathan Mahler wrote: “Nor is there much doubt that by virtually every measure, New York is a better place to live and work than when Bloomberg first took office -- crime is down, the welfare rolls are shrinking, the city is experiencing a historic boom in construction.”  Again, the welfare drop is equated to the crime drop and the city apparently improved under “virtually ever measure” during a time when poverty, homelessness, and hunger all increased in New York City.

And that’s the mainstream media. Then there is the right-wing media -- Fox TV News, The Wall Street Journal editorial page (although not their news coverage, which was excellent and fair, at least before Rupert Murdoch bought the paper), The Washington Times, New York Post, much of talk radio, and countless conservative blogs. In the extraordinarily rare instances that poverty issues are ever covered in any of these outlets, it is usually to report on some sort of alleged fraud or crime committed by poor people.

The rabid New York Post, which doesn’t even observe the traditional practice of separating its news coverage from its editorializing, takes the cake. The news staff at New York Post almost uniformly ignores poverty or hunger-related news, and the editorials proclaim things like: “There is no hunger crisis in New York City. None whatsoever.” In an editorial blasting a bipartisan group of city officials for taking a few small steps to address hunger, a New York Post reporter managed -- in just a few paragraphs -- to distort the amount of money people can make and still get food stamps, mischaracterize USDA food security data, falsely equate food stamps with welfare, and imply that any poor person who needs government help is likely engaged in fraud. The language they use regarding low-income people is consistently vicious and dehumanizing, once implying that anyone hungry in New York was either a drug addict or mentally ill. I have written to their editorial board more than once challenging them to either meet with me or visit a food pantry, but they have never responded. Have you detected a pattern yet?

The Media’s Fixation on Charity and Feel-Good (and Feel-Bad) Stories

When the media does cover domestic hunger stories, usually around the holidays, they virtually never include any discussion of government’s role in creating or solving the problem. In their staple newscasts every Thanksgiving and Christmas, in late 2005, both CBS and NBC ran stories on food banks running short of donations, without explaining or even asking why.

Many times, I have given interviews which repeatedly stress that more private donations are not the best answer to the problem and that changes in government policies are far more important, only for the final media reports to entirely leave out both points. Holiday charity stories in the mainstream media go to such great lengths to ignore broader governmental and societal implications that they are often indistinguishable from those run by the right-wing media.

Perhaps the best example of how the charity mindset has taken over media coverage of hunger is a series that ran on the CBS Early Show during a full week in April 2008 titled, “Facing Hunger; Feeding America.” I was grateful that the show invited my staff to stand out on the show’s plaza one morning with a banner, thereby briefly advertising my organization to the nation. They even did a live mini-interview with my staff, but it was so brief that our folks weren’t able to even touch upon the governmental causes of -- or solutions to -- hunger. Even more frustratingly, the one actual news story about hunger that CBS ran during the series barely mentioned government’s role, even though Congress was in the midst of debating a Farm Bill with major implications for hunger. During a whole week touting their “hunger” coverage, the show mentioned food stamps only once, in passing. Rather, the prime focus of the week was the Early Show’s nationwide food drive. Each day, food companies (receiving lengthy and glowing on-screen marketing time for their companies) would come on the show and announce their “generous” donations. The show gave great credit to Tyson Foods for donating $65,000 worth of meat to the show’s food drive, but according to my calculations, Tyson had at least $500 million in sales that week alone, meaning that the donation equaled less than one/1,800th of what Tyson earned. The total national contributions by six major national companies equaled $172,527 for the week. That sure sounds impressive, but the Chair of the CBS company, Leslie Moonves, (who received a 29 percent pay hike that year despite declining CBS profits), earned about $36.89 million that year, or about $709,000 per week. In other words, his weekly pay equaled about four times the entire food donation from all the national corporations combined. Moreover, the Food Stamp Program spent about $694 million on benefits that week, meaning that the charitable effort (so lauded by the show) provided less than 1/4,000th of the food value that the Food Stamp Program (virtually ignored by the show) provided that week.

What the Contemporary Media Really Care About

In April through June 2008, The Times Metro section devoted seven lengthy stories -- taking up a whopping 6,356 words -- to the trial of Uma Thurman’s stalker. Since the media now seem to be obsessed with such things, as well as young blonde women abducted while on Caribbean vacations and celebrity DUI arrests, I thought I’d provide a handy-dandy guide in Chart 12B on the likelihood of certain occurrences happening to you which are routinely covered by the media:

Chart 12B - What are the Odds for Americans Each Year?

There were an estimated total of 299,398,484 people living in the US in 2006, according to the US Census Bureau (Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States, Regions, States, and for Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006.)


Number of Americans Afflicted

Likelihood of suffering under this category in the US

People murdered in the US, 2006

17,034 (FBI Uniform Crime Report, 2006)

1 in 17,576

People murdered by foreign terrorists on US soil, 2001

About 2,800 (The New York Times)

1 in 103,860

People murdered by foreign terrorists on US soil, 2007



People killed in plane crashes in the US, 2006

114 (Aircraft Crashes Record Office, 2006)

1 in 2,626,302

People killed in car and motorcycle crashes in the US, 2006

36,002 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006)

1 in 8,316

Blonde teenage girls from the US missing in Aruba

1 (wall-to-wall coverage in US media)

1 in 299,398,484

People injured by shark attacks in US waters, 2005

38 (University of Florida, 2005)

1 in 7,878,907

People killed by shark attacks in US waters, 2005

1 (University of Florida, 2005)

1 in 299,398,484

Americans who lived in households that suffered from food insecurity, 2006

35,515,000 (USDA, 2006)

1 in 8

Americans forced to get emergency food from charities, 2005

25,300,000 (America's Second Harvest, 2005)

1 in 12

Americans who lived in poverty, 2005

36,460,000 (US Census Bureau, 2006)

1 in 8

Former pop stars named Britney Spears

1 (any tabloid you can find)

1 in 299,398,484

Here’s a question that answers itself:  Which of those occurrences obtained more recent media coverage?

When the Media Did Cover Hunger and Poverty in America

This kind of media negligence has not always been the case. In the years 1968 and 1969 the media did focus intensively on hunger and poverty, earning two different news Emmys for hunger reporting. The Emmy for “Outstanding Achievement Within Regularly Scheduled News Programs” went to The Huntley-Brinkley Report (NBC) for “Coverage of Hunger in the United States.” The Emmy for “Outstanding News Documentary Program Achievements” went to CBS News Hour: Hunger in America, which was one of the most daring and influential television documentaries of all time.

Broadcast on May 21, 1968, Hunger in America was the work of TV journalism’s historical all-stars -- directed by Edward R. Murrow, produced by Fred Friendly (the guy played by George Clooney in the movie, Good Night and Good Luck), and narrated by Charles Kuralt. The show took ten months to produce, and was broadcast for an hour in prime time.

The show opened with a long, unflinching close-up shot of a premature baby literally dying on screen. Then the narration kicked in: “This baby is dying of starvation. He was an American. Now he’s dead.” The show pulled no punches. It said 30 million Americans were poor, that 10 million were hungry, and blamed the problems squarely on government inaction and racism. It even told the story of an 11-year-old girl who had to engage in prostitution to be able to afford food. Its images were searing, and its language both outraged and poetic, with lines like this: “Dessert and meat were like a star. Able to be seen, unable to be reached.”

The show contained segments on four distinct populations:  Mexican Americans in San Antonio, Texas; rural whites in Loudon County, Virginia; Navajo Indians in Arizona; and African Americans in Hale County, Alabama.

It broadcast a white county commissioner in Texas saying that hunger among local Mexicans was a good thing because society needed inequality of wealth to function: “If you don’t have that condition, you’ll never have Indians and chiefs. And you’ve got to have a chief.” Then, in an odd jump, he blamed the hungry for their own plight: “You’ll always have hunger because men just aren’t worth a dime.”

The show featured Dr. Jean Van Dusen, describing, in painstaking detail, the malnutrition found on the Navajo Reservation, and pointing out that some people had to walk 25 miles to get government commodities. It showed film of rows of small lumps of dirt in Tuba City, Arizona, and explained: “These little short mounds are for little short caskets.”

While the media today won’t usually go near the issues of inequality of wealth and class, this show reveled in those issues. Most strikingly, the program laid the problem directly at the door of failing USDA programs, explaining how food stamps were too expensive to buy, how local officials created practices to deny food access, and how the USDA failed to spend much of the anti-hunger funding available to it. Kuralt editorialized that “prayer is not what a man wants when he is hungry…a hard time earning means a hard time eating.” He said that, “the Department of Agriculture protects farmers, not consumers, especially not destitute consumers” and called for moving food programs to the Department of Heath on Human Services. He closed by saying; “In this country, the most basic need must become the most basic human right.”

The Johnson administration and Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman were outraged. Freeman called it “shabby journalism” and contacted Frank Stanton, then-President of CBS, demanding equal time. Here’s the telegram that Stanton shot back to Freeman:

Dear Mr. Secretary: Your letter to me on May 27 requesting “equal time” to reply to allegations contained in CBS Reports’ “Hunger in America” was received in the mail only this morning although released to the press on Monday. Pending an opportunity to make a complete study of your charges, I would like to make four points. First, no issue of “equal time” is involved since such an obligation can only arise under Section 315 of the Communications Act relating to candidates for public office. Second, we acknowledge an obligation to make a reasonable effort to present contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance on an overall basis. We will continue to provide news coverage of the differing views on the issue of hunger. Third, the thrust of your complaint does not appear to be concerned so much with the existence of any significant inaccuracies in our reporting of the issue as it is with your feeling that that any blame for the inadequacy in meeting the problem of hunger in America should have been attributed to inaction by Congress or by local governments and not to the Department of Agriculture. But the issue of hunger in America transcends the superficial issue of assessing blame for its continued existence. Fourth, the purpose of the broadcast was to report to people the fact that hunger is a problem in America not that most Americans are well fed. Finally, just as your colleagues in the Department of Agriculture are properly jealous of their reputations so our journalists at CBS News are proud of their profession and seriously concerned about intemperate attacks on their honesty and integrity. “Hunger in America” was a hard hitting job of investigatory reporting with respect to a critical and shameful national problem. Unless it is established that the report was in significant respects erroneous, it is my purpose to stand by those who researched and produced it.
                Frank Stanton, President
                Columbia Broadcasting System Inc.”

I think that was a pitch-perfect response -- a great combination of facts and “screw you, buddy.” The truth that a network president would never broadcast such a show today -- nor defend it against self-serving attacks in such a steadfast way -- is exactly what’s wrong with the modern-day media.

But the attacks against the CBS report continued. The powerful and reactionary Chair of the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Jamie Whitten, actually asked the FBI to investigate the validity of the documentary, which the FBI proceeded to do in a tragicomic manner. FBI agents in suits grilled cowering Mexican Americans as to what they said to the producers. An agent even interrogated one of the show’s cameramen on the exact location of a scrawny dog featured in the show. The aim was more to intimidate than to find the truth.

Conservatives howled that the whole show was a fake, that it was fraudulent to broadcast the child dying, since the child was born prematurely. They ignored that malnutrition was a key cause of premature birth. Reed Irvine, who went on to create the right-wing media watchdog group Accuracy in the Media, credited this outrage over the show with launching his career.

But others who watched had an entirely different reaction. Congressman Charles E. Bennett of Florida wrote to CBS stating that he had introduced anti-hunger legislation in response to the show. “I want to congratulate you on this program. I was greatly disturbed and shocked by it, and I want to thank you for bring this matter to the public’s attention.”

Senator George McGovern recalled:  “It was 1968 and I remember saying, ‘Why are they looking at hunger in the United States?’” McGovern was riveted by a young boy who told CBS that he was “ashamed” that he did not have enough money to buy food at school. “I said to my family that was watching the documentary with me, ‘You know, it's not that little boy who should be ashamed, it’s George McGovern, a United States Senator, a member of the Committee on Agriculture.’”  McGovern also took action, and his outrage -- coupled with the shock and anger of other Members of Congress and much of the American people -- directly led to the enactment of the modern nutrition assistance safety net that has done so much to reduce hunger in America.

So, the media do matter -- and they can matter for the better. Let’s hope that, post-Katrina, with our nation in an economic downturn, food prices soaring, and a new administration in the White House, the media pendulum is swinging back to focus on poverty and hunger.

06/18/2011, 12:45 PM

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06/27/2011, 12:54 AM

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For full details of 70 benefits see the Awareness Mission website: www.srimission.org ...

06/27/2011, 12:56 AM

The job is easy, costless, simple, and noble. Every person in the world is suffering with numerous problems. For any problem, awareness solutions will prove easy, simple, cost and trouble free. "ART OF AWARENESS LIVING “has got proven, highly effective solutions, for all common man's day to day problems, such as poverty, hunger, illiteracy, illness, worries, fears, phobias, children, family, properties, investments, legal problems, stress, anxiety.....the list is endless. Every bit of invaluable information is precious for those millions, who are suffering due to lack of that particular awareness.
Those who are members of large network groups, like Face book, Tweeter, Orkut, LinkedIn, Mynetworkpro ,many more such big network groups, as well as service minded individuals can simply become Srimission's supreme e-mail volunteers, just by e-mailing concerned "ART OF AWARENESS LIVING CIRCULAR" for which an individual is striving ever, to seek solution for his chronic problem. Then why to delay? To initiate the noble task, visit now itself, the invaluable infinite informative website
www.srimission.org ...

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