I watched American Idol last night and they were doing their “Idol Gives Back” charity show (to be continued tonight). They did segments showing Simon Cowell visiting a food bank in California (he was absolutely amazed to see such a thing existed so close to where he lives) and one with Randy Jackson visiting Katrina victims. They talked repeatedly about how many children (I believe they said millions) were starving in America. If I didn’t know better I would believe we are living in one of the most poverty stricken places on earth. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but still it was pretty close to a John Edwards stump speech.
Children in America that are actually “starving” are the fault of their parents for not taking advantage of the many government programs and/or private charities that provide food assistance. I believe those on the show mean well, but it would be more accurate to show the food bank and tell the stories of the people being helped and say that because of the many contributions to this food bank from kind and generous Americans, there are disadvantaged children in America that are being fed. Then they could ask that viewers help to continue the worthwhile charity. I guess that is not as effective as saying that children all over America are starving. I would be a lousy fundraiser.
Contributions from the Idol fundraiser will go to charities in Africa and America.
Update: Jodi at Webloggin had a similar reaction:
Africa aside, I have a real problem with the depiction of the deplorable conditions in the United States. It was especially painful to watch Simon peruse the L.A. food pantry. Watching him go around telling us that he didn’t realize that “this” existed just a few miles from his house; oh my.
Starvation in America is not for lack of available help or plentiful food. No, the problem of children starving is one of parental neglect. People do not have to starve in this country. The simple fact that charities and food pantries exist should be the tipoff to Simon. Didn’t he notice the warehouse full of food? This is one of thousands of such warehouses across America. Help is there for the taking.
FYI to American Idol, I don’t need some 17 year old, wet behind the ears adolescent to preach to me about how bad the world is and how we need to give back.