I recently came across an article titled “10 Things They Won’t Tell You About The Flint Water Tragedy, But I Will” by Michael Moore. The article lists hidden facts about the Flint Water crisis in Michigan, which came about around April 2014. According to the article, in order to save money, the governor switched Flint’s, a small town in Michigan, water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, which was intoxicated. Thus, resulting in citizens of Flint being exposed to toxic water with lead in it, which has the potential to cause brain damage.
One of the hidden facts that Moore listed was “ALL the Children Have Been Exposed, As Have All the Adults, Including Me.” Moore goes on to further explain this fact by saying, “When the media says “9,000 children under 6 have been exposed,” that means ALL the children have been exposed because the total number of people under the age of 6 in Flint is… 9,000! The media should just say, “all.”” This section of the article particularly startled me because of the way media is able to twist facts and present them in a form that manipulates how readers/audience members perceive information. The difference between giving a specific statistic and saying “all” goes a long way and presents the level of urgency of the issue as less urgent. And what makes it worse is that the only way majority of the world is able to hear about tragic events like the Flint water crisis is through the media. I see this as the media recognizing its agency and power, but choosing to abuse it.
Last week in class, there was a discussion about how some of us felt like we had nothing to offer to help solve these environmental issues, while some of us were trying to be a little more optimistic about the whole picture. In my opinion, the problem behind feeling useless and not having a solution to offer is more complex than we think. Especially in 2016, the role that the media plays in our lives and how it effects the way we receive and process information is a huge component of the dilemma. At this point, the best we can do is keep educating ourselves about the topics and issues that we feel particularly drawn to, and keep pushing for clarification and specific details surrounding those issues. I mean, what do we have to lose from simply trying?
For the full article, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-moore/10-things-about-flint-water-tragedy_b_9132150.html