Beginning in January 2004, Washington Post journalists David Nakamura, Carol D. Leonnig, D’Vera Cohn, Craig Timberg, Monte Reel, Sarah Cohen and Jo Becker began reporting and publishing more than 200 articles alerting local residents to dangerously high levels of lead in tap water.
Their continuing investigation ultimately resulted in the firing of James Buford, director of the District of Columbia Department of Public Health, and revealed that water agencies across the country have manipulated or withheld test results that disclose high levels of lead content. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency along with federal prosecutors, environmental officials and state regulators are now investigating whether several water utilities have broken criminal or environmental laws by misrepresenting the lead levels in their drinking water
“The Washington Post’s work was a very important piece of journalism–important to every man, woman and child living in the District of Columbia, drinking its water and thinking it was pure. And it was important to the residents of other cities whose water is contaminated by lead and other toxic substances,” said Michael Parks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former editor of the Los Angeles Times who now serves as director of USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism.
Damn muckraking reporters. Where do they think they get off, getting this James Buford man fired just because they didn’t like how he lied to people and endangered their lives and health?
As always, for the irony-impaired, the original post explaining this series can be read here.