Perhaps that’s because the Nunes memo departed from the pro-Trump media playbook in an crucial way — the reveal. After weeks of coverage, protest, and hand wringing, the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign had accomplished what it set out to do: push forward a narrative of corruption and anti-Trump bias. Without divulging classified information, Trump loyalists portrayed themselves and the administration as victims: They easily muddied the waters between fact, fiction, and partially true (and partially not!).
Had the memo never been released, it may well have driven the news cycle for weeks more — hanging like a cloud over the Trump-Russia investigation — indisputable proof of something, just out of reach. Now that it’s out, it’s been defanged and its news value sapped. It will soon be subsumed by the next controversy.