Americans and the world know now about the ‘poisoned water’ coming out of the taps in Flint, Michigan, covered well today in an exposé written by . In switching the city’s water from Detroit’s supply to the Flint River in April of 2014, to save money, a cascading series of problems resulted in lead leaching from the water pipes supplying homes across the city. But, according to the article, it was not until September that the evidence of lead poisoning became public knowledge. The City has switched to Detroit water, and is doing all it can with the State, National Guard, and requests to FEMA to address this problem as soon as possible. the NYT
However, how and why did it take so long for the problem to be taken seriously in this era of networked individuals being able to post information and, in many other cases, hold institutions more accountable. Where was the Fifth Estate when Flint needed it? Was the problem not as visible, or capable of being documented? Were concerned citizens not networked, and able to use the Internet and social media more effectively? And perhaps it is fair to ask if the Fourth Estate was timely in addressing this problem.