You just knew it had to happen eventually. Cutting out everyone else and going
straight to your base: right-wing radio. The radio host at the podium,
what a stroke of genius. No need for facts or truth. It's about reaching people
through emotion in order to get a reaction, through sound bites that stick. Tony Snow is a dream for Karl Rove.
It's putting one of the leaders of the get out the vote team, the right-wing radio host,
up front and center in the press room. The base knows Tony Snow. It's putting
the right-wing voter inside the press room. That Tony Snow comes from Fox
puts even more emphasis on the appointment.
After all, Bush couldn't put Rush in the White House. He's a recovering drug
addict. As for Sean Hannity, well, he's just such a suck up jerk and so obvious about never giving out the facts. At least Tony Snow
is a “nice guy.” That's the thing you hear most about him from just
about everyone who has met him. He's a “nice guy.” But you've really
got to question if a nice guy would say
such things about his own party's presidential representative, George W.
Bush, then turn around and take a job as press secretary. Ambition before anything
else, I guess. Or maybe Tony just feels that Bush really could use the help
in getting a message out through his mumbling.
No one can cut through crap faster than a right-wing radio host. For instance,
illegal immigration: deport 'em. Gas prices: wacko environmentalists are to
blame. Iraq: good news isn't being reported. That will now be Tony's job. Cut through the reality and let loose with a sound bite that right-wing radio can repeat across America. One of their own who can distill it all and spin it around in a second.
With a 32% approval rating, Bush is so weak he's really just changing the mouthpiece. We're going from a beleaguered Scott McClellan to
a radio host, but at least it sends a message to the masses of Republicans,
tens of millions, who listen to radio. We've hired one of you. We've hired a
guy that you know and can trust. Someone you like. We've hired you.
But the right-wing radio host now at the podium has a problem. How
is Tony Snow going to reconcile what he's said about the boss? If it's anything
like right-wing radio he won't deal with them at all. Facts and truth have nothing
to do with the right-wing messenger on radio. It won't get in his way at all.
Brit Hume, Fox's Washington managing editor, said he was “a little surprised”
that Snow would give up his new radio show to take one of the capital's most
“I think he's excited by the idea of being on the inside,” Hume
said. “He believes he will be at the table when decisions are made. For
someone of his bent, that's too good to pass up.”
Dee Dee Myers, a press secretary in the Clinton White House, said that if
Bush wants smoother relations with journalists, “Tony has stature. He
understands how the press works from both sides. He has a big personality,
and that can be helpful.” But she noted that Snow has “a long paper
trail” and would have to defend policies he has criticized.
Outgoing spokesman Scott McClellan, whose tight-lipped style led to strained
relations with reporters, announced last week that he is stepping down as
part of a White House reorganization being spearheaded by the new chief of
staff, Joshua B. Bolten. Snow will be the first career journalist to serve
in the position since President Gerald R. Ford tapped Ron Nessen, an NBC correspondent,
A senior administration official said last night that Bush is aware of the
“perception of disdain for the institution of the media” on the
part of the White House and wants a spokesman who will forge “a good
working relationship” with journalists.
The official said the president is also looking for “a forceful advocate
for the type of historical change he's trying to accomplish” and added:
“We believe Tony fits the bill in both areas. He has a lot of experience
on the air, which with the evolution of the briefings is something you have
to take into consideration.”
graphic via Michelle Malkin