If it's Snow, he's ready

Pushing back against critics, the Fox radio host shows why he's qualified to work for the president.

By Tim Grieve
April 20, 2006 11:07PM (UTC)
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The New York Daily News says radio talk-show host and Fox News contributor Tony Snow is "emerging as the front-runner" to replace Scott McClellan as press secretary. Snow certainly made himself sound like a front-runner on his radio show today, suggesting that the decision is his to make and that family considerations will be the driving force. That may not be the appropriately humble way to approach the process, but you can say this about Snow: He showed today that he's more than capable of the kind of work the White House expects of its flacks.

Mischaracterizing the issue: MSNBC's Keith Olbermann asked Wednesday whether naming Snow as the White House press secretary would be a concession that the Bush administration is interested in talking only "to that increasingly smaller group of people who believe that Fox News is the sole source of news in the world." It was a reasonable question: Is the Bush White House giving up on the middle in favor of the base, or whatever is left of it? Snow's response: "So the Olbermann theory is that all the talk about me is really an attempt to kiss up to Fox News -- by extension, I guess to Rupert [Murdoch]. I love this. We live in an age of conspiracy theories."


Ad hominem attacks: Snow said that he knows Olbermann from the days when he worked at Fox and that he thinks that he's a talented broadcaster. But he added: "You could have fit Keith's friends into a phone booth."

False facts: As we noted yesterday, Snow has had some troubles with the truth in the past. Among them, in an appearance on Bill O'Reilly's show earlier this year, Snow claimed that Joseph Wilson had said that, at the time his wife's identity was revealed by the Bush administration, she hadn't been a covert CIA operative for six years. On his show today, Snow said he never said it: "No, that's not what I said," he said. "But I did say that she was not covert when she was exposed because she had not been on foreign soil for six years." We just listened again to the tape of Snow's O'Reilly show appearance, and here's what he said: "She wasn't covert anymore. Even her husband said she hadn't been covert for six years." That wasn't true, nor was Snow's claim today that he never said what he said.

We have no idea whether Snow will really get the job or if the talk about him is simply a way to throw everyone off the scent and dampen criticism of the eventual pick. But if today's radio show performance is any indication, Snow is just the kind of guy the president wants representing him.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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