Via email, McClatchy's Mark Seibel has a possible explanation:
"... there was a technology glitch that i believe has been resolved that caused archived stories attached to live stories (if this makes no sense just tell me) to post as if they were live stories at sites that hadn't run the archived stories previously. It has to do with something called content sharing and unanticipated consequences.
"To explain a bit more: in the DC bureau, we "attach" to a story previous stories related to the current story so readers can look at what else we've written on the topic. Then we "share" the stories with our other sites. If the other site hadn't published the "attached" stories, its publishing system would post them automatically so they'd be available to the reader. Not having any other instructions, it would post them as new stories. We hadn't anticipated that. The work around was to create an archive place for these stories to be posted to. The reason you might have noticed this recently is more sites are subscribing to our politics coverage."
UPDATE: In comments, one Kansas City Star reader isn't buying it: