A couple of weeks ago, I noted that in an interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Andrea Mitchell asked "Is it better to have nothing than to have a plan that does not include the public option," and pointed out that she doesn't ask similar questions of Senators who oppose the public option. She doesn't ask them "is it better to have nothing than to hae a plan that includes the public option." I explained at the time:
It seems to me that framing -- a choice between nothing and what liberals want -- is common, while conservatives don't face such questions in the health care debate.
So here's a challenge for Andrea Mitchell: The next time you interview a Ben Nelson or a Joe Lieberman or a Mary Landrieu or a Chuck Grassley, ask them "Is it better to have nothing than to have a plan that includes the public option."
Well, Andrea Mitchell just finished an interview with Joe Lieberman -- and no, she didn't ask him anything remotely like that.
Instead, she let Lieberman get away with a string of falsehoods, not challenging any of them:
Lieberman: A government-run health insurance plan: The public doesn't support it. They know that ultimately taxpayers will pay for it. They don't want us to add to the debt. They feel that the existing system, private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid does pretty well.
In fact, health care reform with a strong public option would cost taxpayers less than a similar plan without such an option.
In fact, few people (other than private insurers) think the existing system does pretty well.
But Andrea Mitchell didn't challenge Joe Lieberman on any of those false claims (or on the apparent inconsistency between his disdain for "government-run" health insurance and his praise for Medicare and Medicaid.) Nor did she ask him the type of questions she asks people like Bernie Sanders.
And that goes a long way towards explaining the difficulty in passing meaningful health care reform.