All of this is understandable—most people have better things to worry about, and besides, representative democracy has never depended on every citizen delving into OMB reports and government org charts. But it does mean that when press accounts simply mirror public frustration with the government, they may not meet their responsibility to explain the source of that frustration—and that doesn’t do the public any good.

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.