|Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.|
(CNN)How do Republicans try to breathe new life into an old scandal? We've seen it time and time again. Here's how it works:
Step One: Republicans, with nothing in their arsenal to use against Hillary Clinton, selectively leak to reporters a "scandalous" tidbit -- often one that has been previously reported.
Step Two: The new media bites.
Step Three: The media hyperventilates and suffocates the airwaves with repetition of the same story.
Step Four: Upon further examination, the story falls apart.
This is exactly how the latest media hype, this time over Hillary Clinton's use of emails at the State Department, has played out. And it presents yet another chapter in the Benghazi hoax.
The New York Times story about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account at the State Department is a perfect example of "gotcha" journalism, where reporters will take any bait the Republicans give them without proper vetting. The New York Times has a history of this. (Whitewater, anyone?)
The Times story suggests Secretary Clinton broke federal rules in relation to her email. But the Times' main source for this allegation says Clinton violated no laws.
Yes, Clinton used a private email account to communicate while she was secretary of state. But so did secretaries of state before her. According to the State Department spokesman Marie Harf, John Kerry is the first secretary of state ever to rely primarily on official State Department email.