The theater-of-the-absurd implications here are that you should never chuckle about anything in a call with Spicer. Nervous laughter can too easily be turned against you. What, are you laughing about millions of Americans being priced out of the medical insurance market? the press secretary could say. So you think it’s funny that millions of Americans took days off of work to attend the president’s inauguration? I suppose you get your kicks out of hard-working Midwesterners watching their jobs pack up for Mexico! Are you giggling about the president’s use of a bathrobe?

At a deeper level, however, the funnies dry up. Here we have a White House official threatening to go to extreme lengths in an apparent effort to quash a pending story, or at least a component of it. That’s hardly a surprise given what that story itself documented about this man’s attempts to stifle leaks.