Why we need to watch Sean Spicer squirm

Editors note: The free press is critical to our democracy. It allows us to get answers about how our government is functioning and hold it accountable for its actions. Protect Democracy team member Matt Lehrich wrote for CNN.com about how the daily White House press briefing, despite its drawbacks, makes our government more democratic and accountable.

The White House daily press briefing is often a predictable piece of kabuki theater.

Clinton-era press secretary Mike McCurry — widely considered one of the best to have manned the podium — famously stayed “deliberately uninformed” about the latest developments in the Monica Lewinsky scandal for the express purpose of being able to deflect questions without lying. And the realities of international diplomacy have, over decades, led spokespeople for presidents of both parties to offer near-identical pabulum on some of America’s most vexing foreign policy questions.

Indeed, the briefing routinely sheds more heat than light, and rarely produces new insight into our government’s inner workings. And, yet, getting rid of it would be bad for the country.

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