Fox Contributor Blames The Victims Of Water Crisis: “The People Of Flint Should Have Been Protesting In The Streets”
Fox News' Chris Stirewalt placed blame on the residents of Flint, Michigan for the city's drinking water crisis, saying that "[t]he people of Flint should have been protesting in the streets" after noticing that their water was poisoned. Stirewalt also appeared to blame Flint parents for giving their children contaminated water, declaring: "[I]f you were pouring water into a cup for your child and it stunk and it smelled like sulfur and it was rotten, would you give that to your child? No, you'd revolt, you'd march in the street."
Stirewalt overlooked the protests that took place last year in January, February, April, July, and October, and this year in early January. Most recently, there have been at least three rallies since January 16, when hundreds of people gathered at Flint's City Hall to confront Governor Rick Snyder and demand justice.
This has been an ongoing crisis since April 2014, when the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron (via the city of Detroit) to the Flint River. Residents started lodging complaints about the drinking water shortly thereafter. The new water system was later found to be contaminated with chemicals that can cause nervous system problems and increase the risk of cancer, and General Motors refused to use the water because it was rusting car parts. Snyder declared a state of emergency on January 5, 2016, months after children in the city were found to have high levels of lead in their blood. There's a "very strong likelihood," according to Virginia Tech drinking water expert Marc Edwards, that Flint's water is linked to Genesee County's recent spike in Legionnaire's disease, which has killed 10 residents.
Victim blaming is a common occurrence on Fox News, as are disparaging remarks about protesters.
From the January 20 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): But now the city manager apparently knew. I mean it's not -- the thing that's so egregious about this is, correct me if I'm wrong, is, that they had knowledge. They knew, Chris, that there was something was wrong with the water. And they let the people that were too proud to give up but too poor to matter continue drinking it, including children!
CHRIS STIREWALT (CONTRIBUTOR): Well, look, I will say that an individual -- people have no choice, right? If you are poor you have no place to go and you don't have resources to move -- but if you were pouring water into a cup for your child and it stunk and it smelled like sulfur and it was rotten, would you give that to your child? No, you'd revolt, you'd march in the street. You know, we've had a lot of demonstrations of late in the United States. We've had a lot of demonstration movement about justice for this, and don't do that and don't say this. The people of Flint should have been protesting in the streets.