Whose Snow Job?
The usual suspects are making much of the fact that Tony Snow, George Bush’s choice to replace Scott McClellan as White House Press Secretary, comes from Fox News. Surely, says the conventional wisdom, this is proof that (1) the White House is beholden to Fox News, and/or (2) Fox News is beholden to the White House. After all, the Press Secretary should be independent, shouldn’t s/he?
Maybe so, but that certainly hasn’t been the case in the past. There is a long tradition of selecting Press Secretaries from among the media with whom they are to interact, as the following information found on Wikipedia shows. Because I’m all about being helpful, I even color-coded the presidents using the readily identifiable red/blue so you can tell their party at a glance.
- Larry Speakes (Ronald Reagan) — B.A. in journalism, editor of the Oxford Eagle, managing editor of the Bolivar Commercial, general manager and editor of Progress Publishers
- Ron Nessen (Gerald Ford) — NBC reporter
- Jerald terHorst (Ford) — newspaper reporter
- George Christian (Lyndon Johnson) — degree in journalism, reporter for International News Service
- Bill Moyers (Johnson) — degree in journalism, assistant to the news editor for KTBC Radio and Television
- George Reedy (Johnson) — reporter for United Press International
- Pierre Salinger (John Kennedy) — reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, contributing editor to Collier’s
- Roger Tubby (Harry Truman) — reporter and editor of the Bennington Banner
- Joseph Short (Truman) — reporter in Mississippi and Louisiana, correspondent for the Associated Press, correspondent for the Chicago Sun, correspondent for the Baltimore Sun
- Stephen Early (Truman and Franklin Roosevelt) — reporter for the United Press, correspondent for the Associated Press, reporter for Stars and Stripes, representative of Paramount News
- Charles Griffin Ross (Truman) — journalist
- Jonathan Worth Daniels (Truman and Roosevelt) — reporter, associate editor, and editor for the Raleigh News and Observer, writer for Fortune magazine, column for The Nation
- J. Leonard Reinsch (Roosevelt) — worked at radio station WLS, developed WHIO, worked for the Atlanta Journal and Georgian, managed WSB radio, in charge of radio stations WIOD, WSB, and WHIG
But, but, but… those people weren’t employed by media organizations as closely allied with their subsequent presidential bosses as Fox News is with Bush, right? Um, wrong. KTBC, which employed Moyers before Johnson selected him as Press Secretary, was owned by Lady Bird Johnson. Prior to his selection, Daniels was an active editorial supporter of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” policies. Reinsch worked predominantly for media entities controlled by Ohio Governor and close Roosevelt associate James Cox.
But that was alright. Tony Snow is different. He was appointed by a Republican.