The champagne corks must have been popping at Politico sometime just after 2 p.m. today, as Sharon Bialek presented her charges against Herman Cain.

After a week of obsessive reporting (at least 91 stories about Cain’s alleged sexual harassment of employees at the National Restaurant Association), Politico had published not a single fact that showed either what Herman Cain was accused of or what he actually did.

But that wasn’t the point of the obsessive reporting, which essentially took over Politico’s home page for a week.  Rather, as I wrote three days into the project, Politico was seeking to smoke out people who were not yet identified who would complain about Cain:

The original thinly attributed and fairly vague article was an attempt to smoke out people who had a gripe about Cain, to create complaints from people who never before complained.

We’re seeing that now as various people are coming forward saying they heard Cain say “inappropriate” things, or do “inappropriate” things, but they never complained before.

It’s the sort of tactic we expect of a campaign, where anything goes.

Yet after a week, Politico still had nothing, and it still doesn’t.  Bialek isn’t someone previously known to Politico, and her accusations never were reported by Politico.

The Bialek accusations, assuming they are true, in no way vindicate Politico, any more than being right twice a day vindicates either the broken clock or the person who broke it.

Update:  Thanks to Mark Finkelstein for the audio link: