On The Passing Of Tony Snow

Tony Snow, former Fox News anchor, radio talk show host, and press secretary to George W. Bush, has succumbed to the cancer that he has been battling for many years. He was 53 years old.

I have written about Snow extensively over the years, with little positive to say. But this is not the time to dwell on that. Snow leaves behind a wife and three small children, and this is surely a tremendous loss for them, as it is for his many friends, colleagues, and fellow travelers on the Right.

But it is also a loss for our nation and for the pursuit of truth. Snow was the consummate insider. He was there as a speech writer for George Bush Sr. He was there at the birth of Fox News. He has had unique exposure to the twin powers of government and media – an interdisciplinary complex that I believe is far more dangerous than the military-industrial one that Eisenhower warned us about.

When it comes time to wax autobiographical, press secretaries and journalists are often the source of astonishing revelations about the inner workings of their fields. If Scott McClellan’s recent book purports to tell us “What Happened,” just imagine what Snow might have revealed if he had the opportunity to express himself without the constraints of his professional service. Whether he ever would have done so completely and candidly, we will never know. But he has been rather blunt on occasion in the past. ThinkProgress had compiled some commentary by Snow prior to his appointment at the White House that refers to the president as “an embarrassment,” “impotent,” and more.

In his career, Snow has exhibited a reliably rightist tone to his pronouncements in both the public and private sectors. As press secretary, he stubbornly affirmed the lies and misrepresentations of the White House. But he has also ventured off the plantation to deliver unexpected truths about the people and places he’s observed. We need much more of the latter. That’s the sort of forthright expression that can be truly beneficial politically, historically, and culturally.

With Snow’s untimely passing we can only wonder what might have happened; what might have been.

Tony Snow Goes Over To The Dark Side – CNN

The “liberal” media is at it again. CNN has just announced that it has hired former Bush press secretary, and Fox News anchor, Tony Snow, to be a conservative commentator.

Snow: “I’m delighted to be able to join CNN during the most exciting and unpredictable political year in memory. The big challenge in 2008 is to develop deep, creative and aggressive analysis of both political parties, their candidates and campaigns. I’m eager to get started, since this race is sure to shape American politics for years to come.”

If this is CNN’s answer to the Fox News signing of Karl Rove it is yet another blunder on the part of their programming staff. The last time they went after the Fox model was the acquisition of Glenn Beck, who is now the lowest rated evening pundit on any of the cable news nets.

CNN’s press release on Snow failed to mention that he is presently the permanent guest host for Bill O’Reilly’s Radio Factor. Which raises the question of when, precisely, O’Reilly’s aneurysm will erupt. Remember this

“O’Reilly: “But you can’t go over to CNN. I mean, that’s the devil over there. You can’t. You know. You’re a religious guy. You can’t go into the pagan throne over there.”

Score one for Satan.

Tony Snow Celebrates Iraq

White House press secretary Tony Snow appeared on The O’Reilly Factor yesterday to discuss, amongst other things, the war in Iraq and the magical progress being achieved by General David Petraeus, whom Snow described as, “the author of a plan that succeeded.”

Prior to introducing Snow, O’Reilly delivered his Talking Points Memo that surprisingly stumbled onto a factual statement:

“It is almost impossible for the folks to get the truth about Iraq or the war on terror in general. Because there is so much misinformation and propaganda being spit out there by the media and Internet partisans.”

He then proceeded to spit out misinformation and propaganda by promoting the lie that, “Moveon and the others are actually hoping for defeat.” But the real propaganda started when he introduced his guest, Tony Snow, who repeatedly portrayed the situation in Iraq as improving and hopeful. This delusion was capped by a this startling and disturbing comment:

“Americans love to succeed and they love to know that our people are embarked on a noble enterprise. We got young men and women who are doing amazing things. We ought to be celebrating.”

Indeed. Let’s put an end to the dismal memorials and moratoriums. Let’s decline invitations to those depressing funerals and services of slaughtered soldiers and civilians. Why be glum when we could be enjoying 3,800 wakes? Let’s get our party on, dude. C E L E B R A T E good times, come on…..

No More White House Press Briefings

Jay Rosen at PressThink wins the “Best Idea Of The Year Award” for this little piece of brilliance in response to Josh Bolton, the White House Chief of Staff, who hinted that he may end the daily press briefings:

“End the briefings! I suppose it would never occur to Bolten that such a decision also belongs to the people being briefed. If Snow turns out to be McClellan with better hair, the press ought to quit the briefing room and give up on getting explanations from the White House. Beat Bolten to the punch, in other words.

By “quit” I mean pull your top talent. Send interns instead to occupy the seats without asking questions or filing reports. That means no correspondents at the two daily briefings, none on the President’s plane, none at his public appearances. (Except for foreign trips where other heads of state might speak.) Let the White House publicize itself.”

Just imagine it. Tony Snow steps behind the podium and gazes out to a room of youthful and unfamiliar faces. He stumbles uncomfortably with his opening statement and then opens the floor to questions…..


Maybe he will muddle through some topics the Communications office planned to highlight, but all he would see is a pack of kids hurriedly scribbling down what he’s saying. On first blush it may seem like everything the White House has ever dreamed of – a corps of stenographers. Except for two things:

  • It would be glaringly apparent that these briefings are (and were) meaningless.
  • The real reporters would (hopefully) be out doing real journalism.

We can only hope.

The Tony Snow Job

I suppose it was inevitable. Former Poppa Bush speechwriter, current Fox News commentator and Fox Radio talk show host, Tony Snow, been appointed White House Press Secretary. Since Snow has been shilling for the president for years in his current job, a guest on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown recently asked if he would be getting back pay. It must be convenient for the White House to have the farm team at Fox available any time they need a new relief spinner.

Amongst the jokes that write themselves when stupefying events like this occur, there are some seriously funny moments to treasure. ThinkProgress has compiled some commentary by Snow that refers to the president as “an embarrassment,” “impotent,” and more. If that’s the kind of counsel he’ll be giving in the Oval Office, this might turn out pretty well after all.

Unfortunately, we can’t expect Snow to be any more honest in his new job than he was in his old one. Media Matters has documented some of the many falsehoods that were a regular feature of his broadcasts.

However, as we bid farewell to Scotty McClellan and welcome Tony to his new digs, we must not forget why this substitution is taking place. The administration is in turmoil:

  • They are losing two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and rattling their paper sabers at a third (Iran).
  • They are defending multiple top-level aides who are under investigation or indictment.
  • They are stumbling around trying to deal with record high gas prices.
  • They are suffering from ever lower poll numbers and the possible loss of one or both houses of congress in November.

Their solution to this perfect storm of political chaos? A new press secretary!

This game plan clearly holds the hope that the new face will create a diversion. They expect that the White House Press Corpse will honor Snow with a Honeymoon Period. They’re going to say, “He needs to get his bearings and figure out which drawer the paper clips are in. Give him a break.”

Well I say Hell No! He is a veteran of both the media and the White House. If he can’t do the job he shouldn’t have been appointed. There are too many critical issues facing the country to allow precious time to slip away. We need answers to the questions raised above and others, like health care, tax fairness, immigration, wiretapping, global warming, and on and on. It is the Press Corpse’s job to elicit these answers from our representatives and they better damn well do it.

Wanted: White House Mouthpiece

White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, is rumored to be amongst the next wave of administration officials to be spending more time with family. The Washington Times already has an ad for his replacement.

    Click to view full size ad

This skill set describes a a vast pool of potential successors. At the top of that list you might expect to find the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. And you would be correct. The White House’s actual list begins with Fox News anchor Tony Snow. Other candidate names that have been floated include Rob Nichols, former Treasury spokesman, Victoria Clarke, former Pentagon spokeswoman, Dana M. Perino, Deputy Press Secretary, and Dan Senor, former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Any other right-wing media shills might want to get their resumes in as soon as possible.

UPDATE: McClellan resigns as White House press secretary.