For the second time in two weeks, the conservative media has distorted and badly stretched the available evidence as it searches for a Democratic scandal. And for the second time in two weeks, significant additional evidence rebutting its claims has been met with a large-scale shrug from the supposed scandal’s many purveyors.

Two weeks ago, it was the idea that the Biden administration was sending crack pipes to addicts across the country — a claim that the Washington Free Beacon reported had been confirmed by an anonymous administration official. The claim was stated as fact by oodles of congressional Republicans and was even the subject of newly introduced legislation.

Except it turned out the official never actually confirmed pipes were being sent as part of harm-mitigation kits, as an editor at the publication acknowledged. To this day, though, the story still says the administration official confirmed the kits “will provide pipes for users to smoke crack cocaine.”

The latest follows a strikingly similar pattern, as The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler summarizes. Special counsel John Durham had issued a filing with some intriguing allegations: that a tech executive tied to the Clinton campaign “had come to access and maintain dedicated servers for the EOP” — that is, the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Durham said access to the data had been “exploited” “for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump.”

Numerous conservative outlets and lawmakers leaped to the conclusion that this meant the Clinton campaign had spied on Trump while he was in the White House. But even after it was noted Monday that Durham’s filing never actually said this and that the time period referenced appeared to be during the Obama administration — not Trump’s — they pressed forward…

This is what happened with crack pipes. It was no longer that the government actually confirmed sending crack pipes, which it didn’t; it was that it was possible that it was about to do so, and maybe the government shouldn’t be involved in harm-mitigation kits for drug users in the first place.