Well—maybe not so hard to understand, considering that, as Sam Stein reports, Dunn is leading a White House effort that is “offering pushback [against criticism] for everyone on the president’s short list,” Kagan especially. Given the modern media environment, and the likelihood that there will be attempts from some of Obama’s political opponents to discredit whomever he selects, it’s not at all surprising that the White House is taking these steps. But the overreaction to what was really an unfortunate bit of sloppiness points to the peril of these operations. When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; and when you’re running a rapid-response shop, every error looks like a conspiracy.

Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.