Yes, America would have soldiered on not knowing the president’s thoughts on Kanye West. But what, if in a similar intemperate remark, the president had let slip a similar snide remark about, say Vladimir Putin, or admitted something unreported about an important policy? Would news consumers ever hear word of it?

When answering that question, remember that this time we only did because ABC made a mistake—one they’ve promised to try not to make again.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.