Legislative maneuvering happens in the rough and tumble of politics, but on national television, one might expect higher standards of fairness. By chance, a medical student named Kevin Hauck walked into Joe’s Coffee Bar as the NOW crew was filming, and he was interviewed for the show. Hauck, who is also a board member of Healthcare for All Pennsylvania, said he talked about the single-payer plan, but those comments didn’t make the final cut. Instead the segment showed Hauck talking about a doctor bargaining with an uninsured patient over which lab tests to perform and saying, “This is really an issue about patients and about getting treatment.” No kidding. A researcher for the show did interview several people who support a single-payer plan but told one of them that the show was going in a different direction. The closest NOW came to giving a nod to that approach was a comment from Brancaccio: “Reformers contend it [the governor’s plan] falls far short of providing what they consider the holy grail of health-care reform: universal coverage.”

Slanting a story by omission is not cool. Shutting out an important viewpoint hardly fosters robust discussion of a subject that every American has a stake in. Chuck Pennacchio, who heads Pennsylvania’s single-payer group, vows that the fight to educate the state about their plan will continue “through word of mouth, fliers, e-mail, and bloggers,” old fashioned tools and new ones. But what does that say for the mainstream media?

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.