Michigan Fight Song

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow deserves national praise–and more than a few awards–for her coverage of the atrocity in Flint, Michigan, where residents were forced to drink lead-contaminated water as a result of a cruel cost-cutting choice by Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who deserves national, even international, scorn for his devious decision-making.

Yes, there are any number of reasons to criticize “The Place for Politics”–from the continued presence of GOP apologist Joe Scarborough to the controversial cancellation of The Ed Show in July 2015 (presumably host Ed Schultz will be allowed greater freedom of expression in his new show on RT). However, Maddow’s exemplary coverage of the Flint water crisis demonstrates MSNBC’s continued value to the nation.

Maddow’s segments on the Flint fiasco are, like cellphone footage of unarmed black men being shot to death by police, uncomfortable but necessary to watch. Just as we need to see the face of police brutality, we also need to see the face of institutionalized inhumanity, ultraconservative ideology and reckless disregard for the lives of the vulnerable.

As I watched those segments, I couldn’t help concluding that Snyder is absolutely the worst governor currently in office in the United States–far, far worse than even Rick Scott, Paul LePage, Scott Walker or Chris Christie–and one of the worst in American history. Forcing people to drink lead-contaminated water is nothing short of a human-rights violation; imagine what we’d be calling for if some tinpot dictator in a developing country did the same thing.

Let this scandal finally put to rest the idea that Snyder is a “moderate Republican.” To be fair, there are still plenty of moderate Republicans in the United States; the problem is, they’re all in caskets.

Snyder’s savagery towards the residents of Flint is, like President Bush’s let-em-drown response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a perfect example of what happens when right-wing ideologues control the mechanics of government: the vulnerable and poor are wounded in ways that will never heal. I applaud Michael Moore’s call for Snyder to be prosecuted for his actions, but I doubt that this grotesque governor will face justice.

The residents of Flint, Michigan want answers. I just have one question: Governor Snyder, you ruined the health, safety and well-being of Flint’s residents in the name of ideology and money. How the hell do you sleep at night?

UPDATE: More from Thom Hartmann, Democracy Now!, The Real News, Think Progress, NBCNews.com, the Detroit Free Press, CNN.com and MSNBC.com.

SECOND UPDATE: More from MSNBC and Think Progress.

THIRD UPDATE: From the Young Turks and MSNBC.

FOURTH UPDATE: From MSNBC and Think Progress.

FIFTH UPDATE: More from Miles Grant, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and MSNBC.

SIXTH UPDATE: More from MSNBC and the New York Times.

SEVENTH UPDATE: More from MSNBC, the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, Think Progress, and Young Turks.

EIGHTH UPDATE: More from MSNBC and the New York Times.

NINTH UPDATE: More from Brad Friedman, Matt Latimer, MSNBC and Charles Blow.

TENTH UPDATE: More from MSNBC, New York Times, Media Matters and Ed Schultz.

ELEVENTH UPDATE: More from MSNBC and the New York Times.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.