I was watching CNN in the morning yesterday and was struck by a segment on how the flooding in the MidWest was going to affect food prices. The anchor Tony Harris was discussing this topic with Stephanie Elam, a Business Correspondent. Excerpts from the transcript (my emphasis):

HARRIS: Midwest floods not only uprooting lives but devastating the crops we eat. 

Stephanie Elam is “Minding Your Business.” 

You know, Stephanie, I can’t keep reaching much deeper into my pockets here and I know the prices are going to go up for a lot of the produce that we eat here. So give us the toll here. 

ELAM: … and more corn is actually shipped away. It’s exported from the United States than actually eaten here. This could also have an effect on the markets that way as well. 

HARRIS: You know what, I need to get in the grocery store a little more often here. You’re talking crops. I’m talking produce. 

ELAM: I know. 

HARRIS: Hello! Get into a grocery store, Mr. Harris. 

ELAM: … costs are so volatile right now. Well, if you strip those out, in May, it was up 0.2 percent versus 0.4 percent of an increase in April. So we all know what this is about. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone out there because anyone who has been to a grocery store, Mr. Harris, knows that things cost a lot more. 

I’m sure you’ve been to the gas station, though, so you know that. 

COLLINS: He has shoppers beforehand. 

HARRIS: Yes, I have shoppers.

Did you see that? He starts out by talking as if he’s personally feeling the pinch from rising food prices, but does it in such a way (the transcript doesn’t catch this of course) that it’s clear it’s a joke and he knows it – so he’s essentially making fun of people for whom rising food prices are an issue. Then towards the end we get the ultimate negation of that early statement – he doesn’t actually go to the grocery store – he has “shoppers”. How out of touch can this man be? And yet here he and his network are, reporting on the immense toll rising food prices are supposedly taking on the shrinking middle class and being smug about it at the same time. 

How about an assignment for Mr Harris? Send him grocery shopping for himself for a few weeks and see what he reports…

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