It’s amusing to read in Politico today, after a week of exceptional hyper-ventilation at that site over the Benghazi!, IRS and AP “scandals,” the headline: “Poll: Scandal Interest Below Average.”

The reference is to the latest Gallup survey measuring interest in major news stories. It was taken early this week, which is probably why the stories covered included Benghazi! and the IRS, but not the AP phone record sweep. The bottom line is that a majority of respondents said they were indeed following both stories (with, of course, higher levels among self-identified Republicans) “closely or somewhat closely.” But despite all the breathless claims that these were epochal matters that represented an existential threat to the Obama presidency, these interest levels were below the typical 60% Gallup has found in 200 other major stories since they started making these assessments.

Interestingly enough, the IRS story was drawing just as much interest as Benghazi!, even though it’s spanking new while Benghazi! has been huffing and puffing along for many months. This reinforces the impression that Benghazi! was pretty much a spent bullet until the other “scandals” were linked to it to produce a “crisis,” at least within the Beltway. With the latest deflating evidence that Republican “news sources” deliberately mischaracterized the internal emails leading up to the famous “talking points” on Benghazi!, you have to wonder that if the torches being carried for this particular witch-hunt will again start to flicker and even expire when summer arrives and public interest in noise from Washington inevitably flags.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.