The BBC World Service boasts of offering ‘expertise on why stories matter’, and we have just heard an excellent example of this: ‘The World Health Organisation has said that the rising prices of staple food commodities could lead to millions of people in Central Asia living in extreme poverty. But what does that mean for stability in the region?’
So the possibility of miliions of people starving is not in itself as significant in news terms as the issue of stability, ie. the continuing smooth functioning of the global system of political and economic power. Hilary Clinton’s call for ‘stability’ during the protests in Egypt against a regime based on torture springs to mind. News is concerned primarily with anything that might interrupt the flow of trade. Food for thought, if not for eating.