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U.S. Capitol dome in storm
attribution: Harperdrewart/Dreamstime.com
The truth ain't in there
 
Darrell Issa's grand Benghazi conspiracy panel turned out to be, even by Congressional hearing standards, a colossal borefest. That much is clear; in spite of heavy, heavy setup and promotion worthy of a big-budget summer flick, the end result turned out to be such a dull box of nothings that even Fox News couldn't pretend it was interesting stuff.

On Tuesday CNN's Jake Tapper reported that one of the few supposed smoking guns, vis-a-vis the grand Issa-backed conspiracy theory of the administration plotting to bend the Sunday morning show talking points, turned out to be a bust. (Why Darrell Issa considers the possible politicization of Sunday show talking points to be bigger crime than anything that happened during the whole of the Bush presidency is left as an exercise for the reader.) ABC's Jonathan Karl had a source assert to him that the contents of the email showed the White House was intervening in the process in order to somehow protect the State Department from talking points that would make the State Department sad, or something—again, what the f--k-all these people are going on about still somewhat eludes me, so down the rabbit hole they've gone—but the actual leaked email doesn't seem to show that. It instead shows a Deputy National Security Adviser worried primarily about getting the story right in the face of "a ton of wrong information," which seems to be a pretty good thing to be concerned about, all things considered.

Karl has responded with a rebuttal to Tapper. The short version: This email that is different from what my source purported it to be still shows I was mostly right all along, so there. Woo, reporter slapfight!

This helps fill out the portrait of the inter-agency deliberations that went into shaping the now-discredited talking points. Assuming, as appears to be the case based on time stamps, that this is a version of the same e-mail ABC News reported on last week, there are some differences. […]

The source was not permitted to make copies of the original e-mails. The White House has refused multiple requests – from journalists, including myself, and from Republican leaders in Congress – to release the full e-mail exchanges.

If by "fill out the portrait" you mean "notice that there is nothing in the damn portrait," I suppose you might have a point. Karl then goes on to cite other things his original source said, ignoring the minor point of his source now demonstrably not getting the first thing right, but did ask his source for a reaction to being wrong the first time and can report that his source said that the email "chain" kinda says what he implied it says, even if the precise email he was referring to the first time turns out not to, and oh Lord I can't even pretend to be interested in this. At least Whitewater taught a whole generation that something called "cattle futures" existed, even if not one person in ten could tell you why the hell they suddenly cared.

Steve Benen rightly wonders who Karl's source is, given that their info seems a misleading and more than a bit politically motivated. I don't think we'll ever find out, though. Not because of the famous reporter loyalty to even sources that (apparently) burn them, but because Washington reporters know that anonymous sources spouting politically motivated bullshit is really the only way to keep a faux-controversy going, and faux-controversies are the bread and butter of political fame for ambitious congresscritters, reporters and pundits alike. As long as you don't give a damn about putting out "a ton of wrong information," it's win-win-win, baby.

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