Rachel Maddow put on a display of what cable news is truly capable of with a fantastic town hall discussion about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Maddow demonstrates how the contamination happened:
Maddow’s town hall was the anti-cable news. There were no raging talking heads placing political blame. Instead, there was a master plumber describing in detail the cost and effort that it will take to replace all of the lead pipes in the city. (Total cost for each home roughly $10,000, and there are 30,000 homes in Flint.) The town hall was not a political blame game, or an emotional plea for help.
In true Maddow fashion, the discussion from Flint was focused on the crisis and how it can be fixed. For instance, the doctor who discovered the elevated blood levels in the children of Flint, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, discussed the resources that these kids may need and how the parents and the community can come together to give the kids that were exposed the best possible outcomes.
Video of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha:
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver pointed out that it isn’t realistic for the people of Flint to live on bottled water:
The mayor also discussed how the people’s trust in government has been broken and democracy needs to be restored:
Rachel Maddow’s town hall featured the best experts on the Flint crisis talking about what has happened and what needs to be done. It was telling that Gov. Rick Snyder was asked to appear at the town hall, but he never responded to Maddow’s invitation.
Maddow reminded viewers that thanks to Gov. Snyder’s city manager in Flint, the responsibility for the poisoning of a city rested with the governor and state officials, not the local politicians. Obviously, Rick Snyder knew that his bogus and untruthful buck passing to the people of Flint would not hold up under questioning, so he avoided Rachel Maddow at all costs.
Too often cable news is nothing more than talking heads and pundits arguing all day and night. An hour after Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly screamed at each other on Fox News, Rachel Maddow held a serious discussion about the crisis in Flint.
The contrast between the fantasyland bluster of Donald Trump and the reality of poisoning of an American city was crystal clear.
If Donald Trump and Fox News represent the worst of what cable news is, Rachel Maddow and her town hall showed the country the best of what the medium is capable of.
Viewers should be holding cable news to a higher standard and demanding more programming like Maddow’s intelligent and informative town hall while putting an end to the Fox News/Donald Trump circus of distraction.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association