Compare and Contrast: 200 Dead – One Billion Hungry

As bad as it is, why does this…

Get more coverage than this?

For multiple reasons, of course, something I will touch upon in my review of Stealth Conflicts. But what is obvious is that scale is not the issue, otherwise, 1 billion hungry people would deserve front page, compared to 200 dead in Gaza (as horrific as it is). In most media, and especially in the US, it is a simple morality play: innocent Israel is defending itself against evil Hamas. In Europe, and especially in left-wing circles, fascist Israel is killing innocent Paslestinians. Of course, no one dares touching the fact that it is the clash of two types of religious fundamentalism that bear a big part of responsbility here. Also, the power differential is so great between Israel and Hamas that they cannot be equated.

On the other hand, our 1 billion hungry people, that is a more complicated story for Western audiences with short attention span:

Not to mention that hunger deaths are slow and unspectacular deaths in a world of sensationalist global media whereas blowing up stuff ("shock and awe") has greater visual impact. Mass violence rates better than structural violence.

Also, governments in general have an interest in getting coverage for things they can benefit from: the US government will never miss an opportunity to defend Israel (heck, Obama was genuflexing even before being elected) against terrorists. European governments want to appear to be defending the rights of both sides.

When it comes to hunger, no one wants to discuss the reasons for the high costs of food, agricultural subsidies or unfair trade policies that strangle the agricultural sector in developing countries or indeed, the strage fact that hunger is not connected to food shortage. The West might appear less than noble here.

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