Flint water crisis is subject of MSNBC special

Flint water plant AP_184450

NEW YORK (AP) – MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow says she planned a special broadcast on the Flint, Michigan, water crisis out of concern that assigning political blame was getting more attention than the needs of the city’s residents.

Maddow is hosting a special televised town hall meeting from Flint on Wednesday featuring Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, some medical experts and Flint residents. It will air at 9 p.m. EST, during the typical time slot for her show.>>PDF: Timeline of events in Flint

“This is not the time for lessons learned from Flint,” Maddow said in an interview. “They actually need a lot more intervention than they’ve been getting.”

After an emergency city manager switched Flint’s water supply to Flint River water in 2014, the corrosive water caused lead to leach from old pipes, and elevated lead levels were discovered in children.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said that “every single American should be outraged” by what happened and suggested there would have been quicker corrective action if it took place in a rich white suburb. Flint is 57 percent black.

Since the story has attracted national attention, there’s been a tendency among journalists and politicians “to extrapolate from Flint and use it for some broader political agenda,” Maddow said.

While there is room for political accountability, Maddow said those talks should be directed at the question of whether people responsible for the problem should be entrusted to fix it.>>Inside woodtv.com: How you can help Flint residents

Maddow said she’s been surprised at the response from her viewers to the story, with many seeking to donate money to help residents.

“We actually worried that we had created an opportunity for con artists, because we had created this demand to give money,” she said.

Maddow has done several stories on Flint for her show, often focusing on the Michigan law that allowed Gov. Rick Snyder to appoint an emergency manager with power over elected Flint officials.

Snyder, a Republican, hasn’t responded to an invitation to attend the town meeting organized by the liberal-leaning network’s best-known personality. His office did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

“Hope springs eternal,” Maddow said. “I will not say he’s not coming until we get there and he’s not there. We’re doing everything we can to try to get him to come.”

MSNBC has also announced that Maddow will co-anchor the network’s Iowa caucus coverage with Brian Williams next week.Inside woodtv.com:Complete coverage of the Flint water crisis

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