Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Opinion writer

The Post reports:

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein will stay in the job for now, but will meet with the president on Thursday, White House officials said Monday, after officials had described a series of private discussions that pointed to his resignation or firing. …

The announcement capped a tense few hours after officials said Rosenstein had told White House officials over the weekend that he was willing to resign in the wake of revelations that he once suggested secretly recording President Trump.

As breathless reports circulated Monday morning, questions concerning the potential departure of Rosenstein vastly outnumbered the facts anyone could report with certainty. That did not stop a flood of contradictory information from unnamed individuals. These are but a few of the questions that lingered:

Was this a head-fake designed to get Rosenstein to resign?

If he does soon decide to leave, would Noel Francisco, the current solicitor general, take over or be recused due to his prior representation of the Trump campaign?

If not Francisco, who would Trump attempt to replace Rosenstein with?

Will Congress finally pass legislation to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III?

How, if at all, will this affect Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s troubled confirmation process?

How, if at all, will it affect the midterm elections?

Was this all a charade? A comedy of information errors? It’s unclear whether we will ever find out.

The crazy roller coaster of a day was a function of three related phenomena.

First, we have a president blithely unconcerned with the rule of law, the office of the presidency or political stability. His advisers are afraid to cross him; he takes politically insane direction from Fox News hosts.

Second, Republican members of Congress have failed repeatedly to check his behavior, and in some cases, those such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) have actively abetted his attempts to derail the Russia investigation. This is all reinforced by an intellectually and morally corrupt right-wing media machine that operates without journalistic standards or commitment to reporting objective reality.

Third, the sense of confusion is compounded by the 24/7, Twitter-led media circus in which rumor, innuendo and gossip are fed to the media in an endless cycle, each publication of a questionable fact compounding a false sense of certainty in reported events — until totally contradicted information surfaces.

It is tempting to say this is the fault of everyone — voters, Republicans, Congress, the White House, right-wing outlets and think tanks, excessively competitive mainstream media outlets, social media, Russian interference, James B. Comey (for helping throw the election to Trump), Hillary Clinton (for losing a winnable race) and the self-appointed enablers inside the White House who think they are saving the country from Trump. That, however, would leave us paralyzed, helpless and exhausted.

If we put aside placing blame for a moment and concentrate on how to fix our utterly broken federal government and political culture, we find two more satisfactory conclusions. First, Republicans cannot be trusted with majorities in the House and Senate; voters have the chance — if not the obligation — to vote them out. Second, mainstream news outlets must exercise more caution and include more caveats in reporting. There is a world of difference between “Rosenstein resigned” and “It is unclear if Rosenstein resigned.” If that means getting “beaten” by an outfit with less exacting standards, so be it.