Bloomberg's Eli Lake dropped a bombshell on Monday: Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice was responsible for "unmasking" the identities of Trump officials in intelligence intercepts, and spreading this information around the government.

Now House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has emphasized that the fact identities were unmasked does not validate President Trump's claim Obama surveilled him and his campaign. Further, there is no evidence that Rice did anything illegal and, given the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation, reasons may yet emerge to justify the unmasking.

However, the report does raise a lot of troubling questions about what Rice and the Obama administration were up to. Certainly, the possibility they were using intelligence powers to keep tabs on the opposing party also can't be ruled out at this point. Further, it looks like Rice lied when she was recently asked about the unmasking of identities close to Trump. Two weeks ago, Rice had the temerity to pen a Washington Post op-ed headlined: "When the White House twists the truth, we are all less safe." (And even before the unmasking story, Rice's record of veracity on major Obama admin stories such as Benghazi and the Bowe Bergdahl desertion was dubious.)

So what is CNN doing? The network has decided that not only is the story not worth covering, it must be contemptuously refuted.

Last night, CNN's Don Lemon characterized the story this way: "We will not insult your intelligence by pretending otherwise, nor will we aid and abet the people who are trying to misinform you, the American people, by creating a diversion." CNN's national security correspondent Jim Sciutto—notably, a former collegaue of Rice's husband and a member of the Obama administration—old Anderson Cooper "this appears to be a story largely ginned up, partly as a distraction from this larger investigation." And CNN is also dismissing the story in onscreen graphics:

What's CNN's rationale for such heavy-handed editorializing? Well, they haven't offered anything substantial beyond Sciutto citing an anonymous source close to Rice saying nothing was done "improperly." It's hard to imagine such a self-serving denial from someone close to the Trump administration would be taken so seriously at CNN.

MSNBC, which is not exactly in ideological alignment with the Trump administration, is treating the Rice unmasking story seriously, including having an Andrea Mitchell interview with Rice on Tuesday. Again, it's not an either/or issue—noting that there are questions surrounding the propriety of Rice's unmasking isn't the same thing as defending Trump's unproven claims the Obama administration "wire tapped" him. So what is CNN doing? Other than torpedoing their credibility for inexplicable reasons?

This may well blow-up in CNN's face. Nothing will convince people something is a big scandal quite like blanket, unconvincing refutations from an entire media outlet—especially when those refutations involve defending public figures who already appear to have been caught in a lie.