A Detroit activist and a TV reporter got into a shouting match on MSNBC last week when they discussed how thousands of Detroit residents have been left without water.
In March, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced plans to stop water service for customers who were behind on their bills; since then, it has shut off water for more than 12,000 people, according to The New York Times. The United Nations weighed in, with a trio of experts saying shutting off water to those who can’t afford it “constitutes a violation of the human right to water.”
During an airing of MSNBC Live, Hank Winchester, a reporter for Detroit’s WDIV-TV, discussed the water shutoffs. He also cited some of his own statistics he must have compiled while interviewing the 12,000+ people without water. Well, no…that’s a lie..he didn’t. He just based his comment on his preconceived notions of what black people do and don’t do.
“There are other people, and this is where it gets controversial, who simply don’t want to pay the water bill, who would rather spend money on cable. … A lot of these people are not willing to work out a deal [with the water department],” said the news reporter with no evidence to back up his asinine statement.
In response to Winchester’s statements, Maureen Taylor, state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, ripped him a new one.
“Let me say shame on Hank, shame on him for putting that lie and that mess and that disinformation out on the air. To suggest that people don’t want to pay for a water bill is scandalous,” Taylor said. “What is at stake here is that there are tens of thousands of low-income families who cannot pay rising water bill costs… and we’ve got these reporters out here like this guy that’s standing on the side of people who have money.”
Taylor also fired back at MSNBC for having such an ill informed guest on the show. “The next time you invite me to be here, let’s have some truth and a fair exchange as opposed to Hank who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”