Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Of polls and answers

I asked my husband if he thought the current poll (found to your right) sounded like a weird question, the question being: Do you think that the media reports accurately on food availability and food prices in the U.S.? The reason that I came up with this question is quite sobering, and the answer that I have is probably even weirder than the question. (Either that, or I think too much. :)

The reason this question came to mind is because it seems like there has been at least one article on "need" almost every day in the paper since we returned from our Thanksgiving trip. This may have stuck out to me because we had more than one paper to look at when we came home, so we didn't have a day in between to forget that the headlines dealt with similar themes. Granted, there are projects every year where people try to help the less fortunate with holiday meals, etc. It just seems like there are so many needs this year. To give you an example, and this is from memory, so subject to some error: greater need by some horrendous percentage for the food bank, children asking Santa for basic necessities, like shelter and warm clothing, people in need due to unfortunate personal circumstances, at least one company making layoffs in the early part of next year, but announcing it now so that people don't go out and spend money now that they won't be able to pay off later--and the list could be longer. My answer to the poll question? I guess I should have put an "other" choice, because here is what I think, according to the choices given:

--I figure that the food prices and availablity are probably as accurate as they can make them, but even as it is, the news is bad enough. I truly hope that people have at least some food storage in their homes, because just getting some more food in my own home to keep the rotation going is getting more and more expensive. Scary expensive.

--I also figure that there might be some motivation to not report accurately on the true situation if it is worse than it is, because what good would it do to have people panic? If there is a true food shortage, combined with high prices (like corn in the tug-of-war between use for food and use for fuel) people making a run on the available food will only make the situation worse.

--I also figure that there would be motivation to make things sound worse than they are, because it sells more papers/attracts more readers, etc. It seems like bad news (unfortunately)garners more attention than good news, so could it be possible that they leave out good angles and concentrate on the bad when it comes to the food situation?

--I also figure that it simply isn't possible to be totally accurate about the food situation, even if the intentions to do so are there. There is always the weather, and there is always the fact that something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, if the product in question is, in fact, for sale. There are the financial situations of the farmers (by the way, I have great respect for, and my hat is off to farmers, who do so much for other people, and who have a really tough job) and the possibility of natural disasters, or other things that could affect crops.

So, I'm not much help, am I? :) I don't know about the media coverage, but I do know one thing: it will never hurt to have food storage, and the sooner you get some (or more) the better your situation will be. I am sincerely interested in what you think about the media coverage, because I simply don't know. I just know that the news that I see about food availability and prices is generally sad/not good and the need that is being portrayed is downright scary. Get some food storage if you are able. Share if you are able. And if you are one of the people in need, I hope that things get better for you soon.

Speaking of food prices, one of my former polls was asked and answered like this:

In the last few months, I have noticed an increase in price for the food I normally buy:

In the meat department 45%
In the canned food section 50%
In the dairy section 40%
When shopping for staple foods (beans, rice, wheat, etc.) 50%
In the baking supplies section (oil, flour, spices, etc.) 77%
In the frozen food section 31%
In the fresh produce section 40%
Other 13%

Ah, the ever-elusive "other"..... :)

As always, thanks to those who participate in my polls. The questions usually just come from things I have been noticing/thinking about, and I appreciate your input. I hope that everyone's food storage is increasing--we're working on ours little by little, and fortunately, every little bit counts....


Anonymous said...

Marie, I think the question should be if you trust anything the main stream media gives you.

Carl In wisconsin

Marie said...

Carl--I have thought about stopping the subscription to the local paper because they are obviously biased, so I don't really trust them, but it's hard(er) to know with the national news. Good point--thanks for your comment!

Wendy said...

Or here is another question: Does the media really know the current situation with the food supply? They may only report what they know, which I guess is accurate in their own eyes, but may not really reflect reality.

Jen said...

I just happened to stumble upon your blog. I think you have some great thoughts. I agree that the media can very easily change and even decide what most people's opinions are. It is scary.

Marie said...

Wendy--That is an angle I hadn't considered, and is one to think about--whether the media is being misled or just whether they don't know where to look for the answers. Thought-provoking--thanks for your comment and insight.

Jen--I am used to the media trying to influence stuff like politics, but it takes on a whole new importance when I think that they might be manipulating information about the food supply. I agree with you that it's scary--they have a lot of influence, and to me their motives aren't always clear. I appreciate your comment!