Last week, a House committee hosted two days of testimony on the Flint, Mich., water crisis. CNSNews.com reporter Melanie Hunter wrote four articles about it:
- An article on the former Flint mayor testifying that "he trusted the guidance he received from then EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman that the high levels of lead in the water in Flint, Mich., were 'limited to very particular cases' of lead service lines and plumbing in individual houses."
- An article on EPA administrator Gina McCarthy allegedly [sidestep[ping] a question on whether she would have fired a regional administrator for her purported role in the crisis. McCarthy pointed out that the regional administrator resigned on her own so "that was an issue I didn’t need to face."
- An article featuring a internal EPA email suggesting that "the federal agency might not want to 'go out on a limb for' the community of Flint, Mich."
- An article featuring a Republican congressman's call for McCarthy to resign.
How biased is Hunter's reporting? Not only does quote only from Republican members of the committee, she almost completely disappears the fact that among those testifying was Republican Michian Gov. Rick Snyder. Only one of Hunter's four articles even mentions Snyder, a passing reference noting only that Snyder testified.
And because Hunter is interested only in parroting right-wing bashing of the EPA and protecting a Republican governor, her readers don't get the full story -- that Michigan officials under Snyder played a significant role in creating and extending the crisis, and that the EPA's hands were tied to a certain extent. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank summarizes:
Now members of Congress are blaming the EPA for failing to stop the problem — oblivious to the irony that they and their predecessors were the ones who denied the federal government the ability to enforce drinking-water standards in the first place.
It’s a vicious cycle: Washington devolves power to the states. When states screw up, conservatives blame the federal government, worsening the public’s already shaky faith. Having tied the hands of the feds — in this case, the EPA — they use the failure as justification to restrict federal power further, thus giving more control to the states, which caused the problem in the first place.
Even though the EPA should have acted faster once it learned of Flint’s troubles, there is no dispute that the state was solely responsible for the changes that caused the lead poisoning.
But you won't find any of that being reported by Hunter -- it's not part of her agenda.