(Department of State via Reuters)

The media in general — and State Department reporters in particular — have been much criticized by certain government officials for spending too much time asking about the secretary of state’s hairdo.

But it appears some State Department officials bring up the hair matter before the press does.

Take Monday’s briefing with reporters shortly after department officials presented Secretary Clinton, back on the job after her recent health problems, with a jersey and State Department helmet.

“Did she put on the helmet?” one reporter asked, recalling the disastrous 1988 campaign photo of presidential candidate Michael Dukakis looking ridiculous in a helmet as he was riding in a tank.

“She — as you’ll see in the photo,” department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “she’s holding it up, both the helmet and then later the jersey.”

“Yeah, but she didn’t put it on?” the reporter persisted.

“Let me just say as a fellow chick, her hair looked fabulous this morning,” Nuland said. “I’m not sure I would have challenged my hair with the helmet either.”

Just sayin.’