Why is the New York Times helping Joe Lieberman lie about health care?

The New York Times reports that Senator Joe Lieberman will vote against health care reform in its current form -- and, in doing so, uncritically reports Lieberman's false claims about that legislation. Here's the article, by Times reporters Robert Pear and David Herszenhorn:

Mr. Lieberman described what it would take to get his vote. “You've got to take out the Medicare buy-in,” he said. “You've got to forget about the public option. You probably have to take out the Class Act, which was a whole new entitlement program that will, in future years, put us further into deficit.”

The Class Act refers to a federal insurance program for long-term care, known as Community Living Assistance Services and Supports.

Mr. Lieberman said he would have “a hard time” voting for bill with the Medicare buy-in.

“It has some of the same infirmities that the public option did,” Mr. Lieberman said. “It will add taxpayer costs. It will add to the deficit. It's unnecessary. The basic bill, which has a lot of good things in it, provides a generous new system of subsidies for people between ages 55 and 65, and choice and competition.”

But adding to the deficit is not an “infirmity” of the public option. The public option would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, reduce the deficit.

Here's a November 22 article by those very same New York Times reporters -- Robert Pear and David Herszenhorn:

The bill would expand health benefits by broadly expanding Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for low-income people, and by providing subsidies to help moderate-income people buy either private insurance or coverage under a new government-run plan, the public option. And it would impose a requirement that nearly all Americans obtain insurance or pay monetary penalties for failing to do so.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of the legislation would be more than offset by new taxes and fees and reductions in government spending, so that the bill would reduce future federal budget deficits by $130 billion through 2019.

So, New York Times reporters Robert Pear and David Herszenhorn know that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Joe Lieberman simply isn't telling the truth. But they won't tell their readers that. Instead, they type up what he says and pass it along, as though it is true.

When someone knowingly passes along falsehoods from government officials as though they are true, isn't that the essence of propaganda?

Previously: WSJ's Seib incentivizes Joe Lieberman's health care lies