“It’s hard to believe that just a few miles can make so much difference…”

I happened to watch the BBC News earlier today and found myself intensely irritated by their reporting of the publication of a World Heath Organisation study noting huge inequalities in the relative health of the world’s population. It wasn’t the o-ver-ly care-ful and par-tic-u-lar e-nun-ci-a-tion of e-ve-ry sy-la-ble nor the strong stress on the most important words in each sentence which, whilst annoying, both seem to be prevailing traits amongst many of the BBC’s TV News journalists (seriously, I think many of Auntie’s finest have missed their true calling in life as infant school teachers). My ire was instead aroused by the stupid over-simplicity of the reporting. Do we get any mention of the conclusion that a “toxic combination of bad policies, economics, and politics is, in large measure responsible for the fact that a majority of people in the world do not enjoy the good health that is biologically possible”? Any mention of the recommendation to tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources? Nah, course not – we’re just told it’s all a matter of geography.

Go on, watch it yourself, and try not to come away with the impression that people who live in the wrong part of town die earlier simply because they are stupid and workshy. They probably just spend all day sat on their fat arses, shovelling junk-food into their mouths, smoking and drinking, pausing only to bring more children into the world into whom they can inculcate similar slapdash ethics. If only they had the wit to move just a few miles down the road, they could have access to great schools and housing and their children would live forever. Maybe we should just introduce a government policy to encourage people to move out of areas of poor health and into the areas of higher life expectancy. Hmmm, that kind of logic sounds vaguely familiar…

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~ by Steve on August 28, 2008.

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