As The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler put it in the middle of an exchange with Gibbs at yesterday’s briefing: “It’s our job to help people— to explain to people what it is that you’re saying, and so I’m trying to make sure I understand it.” That’s a great description of what a White House reporter is supposed to do; it’s also what Stein, preoccupied with noting reporters’ snickering at Gibbs’s answers, chose not to do. There can be a lot of information hiding between the lines of a press briefing; journalists should ferret it out.

If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of 10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Jane Kim is a writer in New York.