“Clearly, I regret the email was quoted incorrectly and I regret that it’s become a distraction from the story, which still entirely stands. I should have been clearer about the attribution. We updated our story immediately.”"Entirely stands?" You write a story based on emails that weren't accurate (I'm being charitable) and your story "entirely stands"? Seriously? I mean, isn't this a case of "Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?" Yeesh.
-Jonathan Karl, ABC News Chief White House Correspondent
But let's step back for a moment and try to be fair and balanced. If you think about it, Karl actually does have a point here. The revelation that his story was based on inaccurate summaries of emails provided by Republicans eager to score political points hasn't actually changed the fact that his original report wasn't a blockbuster to begin with, even if it had been right. So his story still entirely stands—if by "entirely stands" you mean "is, was, and forever will be a complete yawn."
Yes, Karl's original story may have seemed like it was interesting—but only if you weren't actually paying attention to the substance. The thing that made it seem interesting was that the White House supposedly had weighed in on behalf of the State Department to cover up information suggesting that terrorists, potentially linked to al Qaeda, were suspected of participating in the attack. Of course, as we now know from the actual emails, that never happened, but you didn't need the actual emails to understand that point.
Remember, the root of the controversy here isn't the talking points per se, but what Susan Rice did and did not say on those Sunday talk shows. And if she was covering up the involvement of al Qaeda or terrorists she did an abysmal job, because as everybody in Washington, D.C. seems to have forgotten, she did say this:
I think it's clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we'll have to determine.Unless you're going to get on her case for saying "extremists" instead of "terrorists," there was no covering up there. Yes, she relayed the inaccurate information that the attack had begun as a reaction to the video that had inspired protests at other U.S. embassies in the region. But there's nothing new about that. She's long-since apologized for that mistake. Moreover, as the the emails show, her statement was in fact based on the CIA's assessment.
So, to return to my original point, the revelation that Jon Karl's emails were fabricated by Republicans doesn't change his original story. It was a nothing burger then and it's a nothingburger now.
It does, however, create a new story, and it should be a bit of scandal: Who in the Republican Party leaked the false emails to Jon Karl and why did he report them? After all, whoever did this is (a) privvy to classified information and (b) is more interested in scoring political points than protecting the country's national security. It's a question worth asking, not that there's a chance in hell Jon Karl will answer it—or that Darrell Issa will investigate it.