As the clock ticked away, it became apparent that they didn’t know much, or at least not nearly as much as BuzzFeed. Host after host on cable news networks issued disclosures that their own colleagues had failed to confirm the story. Even as they continued failing to confirm the story, however, they succeeded in talking about what the implications would be — “if true.”…

The clip to which Tapper refers is right here, a Friday afternoon conversation on Tapper’s show “The Lead” with analysts Josh Campbell and Philip Mudd. Tapper’s right that the segment provided a skeptical view of the BuzzFeed reporting. “I want more, Jake, I want more,” said the always colorful Mudd asking for more details to corroborate the account.

On the other hand: The segment was part of a surfeit of coverage — all of it caveated by “if trues” — of a BuzzFeed report that no one could confirm. And yes: At some point, volume confers credibility. The U.S. media, as we’re seeing, is terribly gifted at talking and writing and talking and writing when it knows very little. As a high school foreign language teacher might say, they’ve mastered the subjunctive.