DB: Some are; some are not. It’s important to remember that however bad things may seem today, there is no comparison with the 1950s, when critical reporting on business did not exist.

TL: One time I heard you speak at a meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists and you said “make no mistake about it, we are lying to our readers.” Can you explain what you meant?

DB: This idea of pretending that the market, and by extension our insurance system, works in health care is a flat out lie. We don’t have an insurance problem. We have a health care delivery problem. Health care could be provided through other arrangements - and not necessarily by the government. Yet the entire debate is keyed to guaranteeing insurance, indeed the big issue now is forcing people to buy insurance.

TL: What is going wrong with America now?

DB: For tens of millions of working people, America could become a third world country. The job market is bleak. Pay in most fields is going down—not up. Home ownership is becoming increasingly iffy. There are no more guaranteed pensions. Congress is anxious to slash Social Security. Health care protection is marginal. And the outlook for the next generation is even darker. All this at the same time there is more wealth concentrated in fewer hands than at any time in history, and members of Congress, perhaps even a majority, want the people in the middle and the bottom to pick up the bills for the excesses of the past decade enjoyed by Wall Street.

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.