Andrew Cline at Rhetorica is always good for a brisk intellectual workout, as he parses journalism and politics through the frame of rhetoric, but today’s post is particularly rewarding.

In it, Andrew, former journalist and now professor of that dark art, takes apart a White House briefing by Scott McClellan, pointing out how McClellan has mastered the art of keeping reporters at bay. His conclusion is his own answer to this question:

Why do you put yourselves through this? Isn’t it clear that the press gaggle is a useless forum devoid of news?

You’ll have to read the post to get to his answer (which seems to be common sense, but which won’t be taken that way by big media), but here’s a clue: he calls the press briefings “a snake pit where news goes to die.”