Searching for the middle

In reading this AP story about the removal of the last remnants of a public option from the health reform bill, it occurred to me: Do journalists intentionally avoid explaining certain issues because if they did, one side would sound, you know, stupid? Take a section like this:

Many Democrats say they’d like to see a plan like Medicare to give consumers affordable choices. Republicans and some moderate Democrats fear private companies wouldn’t be able to compete. The search for a middle ground has been difficult.

That doesn’t actually explain anything, which is a bad thing in an article claiming to explain “key issues in the health care debate.” But think about how it would look if the writer had actually tried to describe what’s going on:

Many Democrats say they’d like to see the government provide health insurance, because, like Medicare, it’d be cheaper than private insurance. But Republicans and some moderate Democrats say that the only way we can have private insurance is if it stays expensive, and no one will buy expensive private insurance if there’s a better option. The first group knows this is crazy, but can’t say it out loud because then Joe Lieberman will lock himself in the Senate chamber and hold his breath until he turns purple.

Indeed, the search for a middle ground is difficult. In journalism doubly so.

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