FAKE NEWS: AP reporter says sensational WaPo claim on Tillerson “not true.” “When challenged on this story, Lee explained that the same claim got shopped to him ‘weeks ago,’ and that his research proved it untrue. Lee also insinuated that these tidbits of fake news are coming from people hired by the Obama administration who have axes to grind. . . . While anonymous sourcing is necessary in some instances, it gets seriously abused and eventually produces nonsense like this attempt to paint Tillerson as adopting the airs of an 18th-century French monarch within the walls of Foggy Bottom. This kind of extraordinary and bizarre report should either have named sources attached to it, or not printed at all. Matt Lee’s debunking should prompt the Washington Post to either name its sources now, or retract the story.”

True. But so is this: “This raises another concern about the State Department, and more broadly about the Trump administration. Their transition team failed to produce timely appointments to key positions in the bureaucracy, which means that Obama appointees have remained in place. This allows for the kind of mischief that we’re seeing in this story, as those with axes to grind against the current president have carte blanche and standing to spin all sorts of fantasies about dysfunction. The solution to that is to have the White House start performing more effectively on nominations.”