Did you notice any unusually provocative questions during the White House press briefing this week? Your answer is almost certainly “no,” because there was no briefing for the White House Press Corps yesterday. And there wasn’t one all of last week. In fact, there hasn’t been a press briefing since August 9th, more than two weeks ago. Has anyone even noticed the complete absence of Karine Jean-Pierre (whose name you should always say in an exaggerated French accent) from the lectern where she is supposed to keep the media up-to-date on what Joe Biden is up to? As Jim Geraghty points out at National Review, nobody seems to be complaining. In fact, the silence from nearly all of the mainstream media is rather jarring. If there can be such a complete vacuum in terms of media correspondence from the Biden administration and all we hear is the sound of crickets, are these briefings really worth the time we invest in them?

An observation: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has not held an on-the-record press briefing since August 9 . . . and nobody in the White House press corps or general public seems to be all that bothered by that. (Apparently democracy dies in darkness, unless it’s August vacation season.) The lack of complaints probably says something about the news value of these briefings, where Jean-Pierre contends the U.S. economy is stronger than ever, that the U.S. Supreme Court took an “unconstitutional action” by overturning Roe v. Wade, and that she has a hard time keeping up with Biden’s boundless energy level and stamina.

Jean-Pierre’s briefings are not all that useful for getting new information out of the White House, beyond basic information like updates to the president’s schedule, etc. They are somewhat useful for getting the administration’s off-the-cuff response and spin to the occasional challenging question, a response that is usually unpersuasive and often factually challenged.

Yes, part of what we’re seeing here – or more correctly, not seeing – may simply be a silent admission that the White House press briefings under the tenure of KJP simply aren’t worth very much. After all, the most common answer that reporters receive includes the phrase “I don’t have anything for you.” It’s as if people inside the Biden administration don’t really bother telling her much about what’s going on. (This should not come as a surprise during the least transparent administration in living memory.)

It was being reported early in the summer that much of the press corps was unhappy with KJP’s briefings and many felt that she has turned out to be “a flop.” But how long can this situation hold?

After all, it’s not as if there isn’t important news to be addressed. We’re hearing that the White House may be on the verge of announcing an agreement to resume the Iran nuclear deal after seemingly endless delays. Keep in mind that the Biden administration has never released a single detail of what’s been going on in those talks or what sorts of gifts have been put on the table for the Iranians. The public has been kept entirely in the dark on what could be one of the most impactful stories of the year. Shouldn’t the press corps be demanding that KJP at least show up for work and try to answer a couple of questions about that?

Perhaps the lack of interest in anything KJP might have to say is tied to the absence of the President himself. Joe Biden has now extended what appears to be his summer vacation to the better part of three weeks, with sightings of him being rarer than the Tasmanian tiger. And he has pulled this disappearing act in the middle of not only the Iran nuclear deal talks but the war in Ukraine, a potential war with China, and a full-blown energy crisis largely of his own making. And through it all, now we’re not even getting a chance to see if the Press Secretary can at least fake her way through a couple of questions? What happened to the press corps? Shouldn’t this be a big deal?

This seems like an appropriate time to close with this classic clip of KJP saying “I don’t have anything for you” a staggering number of times in barely two minutes.

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