Jul 12 2008

The AP, factless AND tactless on Tony Snow’s passing

Category: media,politics,White Househarmonicminer @ 7:51 am

Tony Snow has gone on to his considerable reward. But the AP can’t resist the temptation to take a swipe at President Bush’s former (and best) press secretary:

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 around the country to the delight of his White House bosses.

I suppose I should not be surprised at the AP’s editorializing while pretending to do simple reporting. Maybe a couple of examples of “facts” that Snow got wrong? Or is the AP simply referring to the fact that Snow didn’t pretend to know what he didn’t? Is this the AP’s way of characterizing honesty?

Critics suggested that Snow was turning the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation. He was the first press secretary, by his own accounting, to travel the country raising money for Republican candidates.

Surely this is the pot calling the kettle black. Everyone with an ounce of sense knows that it is the White House press corps that has turned the daily briefing into “a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation,” and that this transformation of a once relatively dry information exchange happened long before Tony Snow arrived on the scene. Many reporters “made their careers” by just this method, starting as far back as Dan Rather in the 1970s, and there have been many since, some of whom are still there.

The AP seems shocked that the role of White House Press Secretary is a political one, as well as an informational one. One wonders if they still wear short pants.

Of course, reporters are at their very worst when reporting on other reporters.

We’ll miss you, Tony. A lot.

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