Have you ever wondered why MSNBC and other news networks cover the irrelevant campaign talking points, a la Bill Ayers, ad ad nauseam?

The mystery was revealed last night when Joe Scarborough appeared on The Colbert Report.

“We talk about it because it’s not relevant. … We talk about it for a very long time and, we reveal, after the ratings come in to help us out, that we shouldn’t be talking about it,” Scarborough said.

A clever trick. In other news, Scarborough also says that it’s “too late” for the McCain campaign to eek out a victory. A clairvoyant newsman. Very clever indeed.

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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.