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

The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib has a piece about Sen. Joe Lieberman's opposition to the public option that serves as a clear reminder of why politicians lie: they know they won't get called on it.

Seib writes:

Mr. Lieberman also notes that the public option wasn't a big feature of past health-overhaul plans or the campaign debate of 2008.

Well, no. Mr. Lieberman doesn't “note” that. Mr. Lieberman lies about that.

Lieberman claims that “if you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can't find a mention of public option...It was added after the election.” In fact, the Obama-Biden campaign health care plan included a public option, and the New York Times reported as far back as May 2007 that “Mr. Obama would create a public plan for individuals who cannot obtain group coverage through their employers or the existing government programs.” And when it is pointed out to Lieberman that his claims are incorrect, he reiterates them.

Seib, continuing directly:

So he says he finds it odd that it now has become a central demand -- which it has, he suspects, because some Democrats wanted a full-bore, single-payer, government-run health plan, and were offered a public option as a consolation.

But it isn't “odd” at all -- because Lieberman is lying when he says the public option wasn't part of the discussion until post-election. Seib completely gives him a free pass on those lies. Worse, he presents Lieberman's lies as the truth.

What happens when reporters present politicians' lies as truth? They encourage politicians to lie. That's pretty obvious, isn't it? Gerald Seib and the Wall Street Journal are encouraging Joe Lieberman to lie about health care.

Seib also quotes Lieberman's claims that he opposes a public option for fear of increasing the debt -- and, no, Seib does not bother pointing out that CBO says health care reform containing a public option will reduce the deficit.

It's important to keep in mind that Seib's entire piece is about Lieberman's opposition to health care reform. This isn't a case in which a reporter inserts a quick paragraph about Lieberman into a larger health care article without fact-checking his statements. That would be bad enough. But this is so much worse: an entire piece dedicated to Lieberman's opposition that presents Lieberman's false claims as truth, and neglects to mention that the CBO contradicts his claims.