News has been circulating all day about the death of former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. The former Bush aid and FOX News contributor died at 2am Saturday morning at Georgetown University Hospital. He was 53.
But this is no eulogy.
Snow took over as press secretary in May of 2006 replacing Scott McClellan. However, unlike McClellan, and perhaps because of McClellan, at least the way he was treated by the White House, Snow demanded to be in the loop and present at meetings where decisions were being made. Snow asked for this as a condition to taking the job. This goes to show how much dissembling the White House was involved with, even with their own press secretaries.
President Bush, when reached for comment while on vacation (yet again) at Camp David, said, “America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character.”
Bush delivered a brief eulogy for his friend. But this is no eulogy.
A man of character? I know it’s a standard line now for Bush to praise all of his fallen (most of them jailed or about to be jailed) aids, but to deem Snow–whom most people had nicknamed “Tony Snow job”–a man of character is outright laughable. Even the AP, which broke the story, said of Snow: “With a quick-from-the-lip repartee, broadcaster’s good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook–if not always a command of the facts–he became a popular figure [with] his White House bosses.” Snow may have been affable and camera friendly, but he was not always in possession of the facts…most likely purposely.
Also, consider the other side of the equation–why the administration went looking for Tony Snow in the first place.
McClellan clearly, visibly appeared uncomfortable dissembling for Bush and company at the podium. Every time McClellan had to “dodge” or “evade” or plain out lie in response to a reporter’s question, he looked like a little piece of his soul was dying.
The administration needed someone who was charming, charismatic, possessed TV-ready good looks and a quick wit to stave off and redirect reporters chasing down unfavorable stories on the White House. Snow was perfect for the job. He fit the physical job description to perfection, and having worked for FOX news for seven years prior, he was perfect for White House Disinformation Minister.
Some reading this may think it inappropriate to “kick the man” when he’s just passed on. I say it’s wholly appropriate considering what he did. This man did not serve the country; he served Bush and Bush alone.
Let’s do a quick comparison. How much TV material today was generated and/or dedicated to Snow? Not much. Most of what I saw on news networks dealt with Christie Brinkley’s divorce or the new DNA evidence in the JonBennet Ramsey case.
Compare that to the coverage and the length of coverage when Tim Russert passed unexpectedly nearly a month ago.
Maybe I’m a bit of a small person for nailing Snow on the day he died. But the truth is, I’d like to say rest in peace Tony Snow, but really, all I can think of is good riddance.
No, this is certainly no eulogy.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association