National Journal's Ron Fournier And CNN's Jake Tapper Admit They Failed To Cover Flint Water Crisis

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: