National Journal's Ron Fournier and CNN's Jake Tapper each admitted that they failed to cover the crisis involving Flint, Michigan's water supply until recently.
In a January 20 National Journal column headlined “How Government--and This Columnist--Failed Flint,” Fournier acknowledged that he “blew it” by failing to bring up Flint's ongoing water crisis in a December 2015 column about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's “refreshing approach to politics.” By December, Snyder had already been widely criticized for his handling of the situation, which has resulted in children across the city suffering from lead poisoning.
From Fournier's January 20 column, in which he also pointed to a broader failure on the part of the media to cover the crisis:
Like the story about Johnny Whitmire, the scandal in Flint is a reminder of how government and other institutions fail.
--Arrogant leadership, with a lack transparency, follow-up, and singular attention to mission.
--Lack of power at the bottom of society's brutal pecking order. This would not have happened in a wealthy city like Traverse City, Michigan, or Snyder's hometown of Ann Arbor.
--Finally, a lack of oversight from traditional institutions. Where was the state legislature and Congress? Where was the media? Why did a scientist in Virginia crack the case with a FOIA request, rather than an investigative journalist?
For that matter, why did I write a column about Snyder's leadership that didn't even mention Flint? There's no good answer, no excuse. I took my eye off the ball. I blew it.
In addition, during an interview with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver on the January 20 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper, Tapper apologized for failing to cover the Flint crisis over the many months that it was becoming worse and worse. After promising to “shame” Snyder or President Obama if they don't provide Weaver with “the response you need,” Tapper admitted, “I'm sorry that it took us so long to get on this story.”
From the January 20 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper: