Scenes From Washington’s Most Contentious–and Most Entertaining–Press Briefing

Hogan's Heroes, non-positions and a reporter who won't give up

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The White House’s daily televised press briefings have long been known for their low theater: the posturing reporters, the dissembling spokesmen. But lately the better briefing show has been over at the State Department, which holds its own, much lower-profile, daily media session. The key ingredients here include the Obama administration’s rather convoluted positions on issues like Egypt’s political crisis and arming Syria’s rebels, along with an assertive Associated Press beat reporter, Matthew Lee, whose often-cantankerous questioning has been likened to “political performance art” and even featured on the Daily Show. And while some people on Twitter have accused Lee of hazing State’s new spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, there’s nothing very new about Lee’s distinctive questioning style, as this exchange–“There’s not a question here… You’re just looking for a fight.”–with Psaki’s predecessor demonstrates.

Dogged questioning, or gratuitous badgering? Watch this selection of recent Lee v. Psaki duels and decide for yourself!