America's hungry? They're just suffering from "low food security"

The Bush administration is losing another war, so it's changing the terms of the debate.

Tim Grieve
November 16, 2006 8:10PM (UTC)

What do you call that phenomenon you feel when you need something to eat but can't afford to put any food on the table? We might call it "hungry," but then, we're not Bush administration officials who'd rather not acknowledge that the number of "hungry" people in America has increased over the last five years of "compassionate conservatism."

As the Washington Post reports this morning, Bush's Agriculture Department has struck the word "hungry" from its annual report on what it's now calling "food security."


The report measures the number of Americans who can't afford to put food on their table during at least some period of the year. The Agriculture Department's Mark Nord says "hungry" is "not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured" in the report. Thus, people formerly described as suffering "food insecurity without hunger" -- meaning that they'll probably get something to eat, somehow -- and "food insecurity with hunger" -- meaning that they'll go without food for stretches of time -- shall henceforth be known as sufferers of "low food security" and "very low food security."

Oh, and then there's this. The hunger/food insecurity report usually appears in October. This year's version -- the fifth straight to show an increase in the number of hungry Americans -- was held for release until after last week's election.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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