TIME offers what it calls an “Appreciation” of former White House press secretary Tony Snow who died yesterday at 53 following a courageous battle with cancer.
The White House press corps is a temperamental group, and by the spring of 2006 its collective attitude towards the administration of George W. Bush was, at best, one of hostility. The problem wasn't the administration's policies — objectivity is still very much the goal — but the way those policies were expressed. Part of the problem had been Bush's two unsuccessful press secretaries: his first, Ari Fleischer, had proven capable but combative and condescending; his second, Scott McClellan, had been inadvertently caught up in misleading the press about the White House leak of the identity of a CIA officer. …TIME's paragraph is self-serving dissembling.
Who believes the WH press corps' goal is “objectivity?”
If you’ve watched many White House press briefings, you know there are some reporters for whom “objectivity is still very much the goal.”
But it’s the “gotcha,” Bush-bashing types - Elizabeth Bumiller (NYT), David Gregory (NBC), Terry Moran (ABC) and Helen Thomas (Hearst) – who’ve typified the White House press corps during the presidency of George W. Bush.
When average citizens get a look at the WH press corps in action, they see its rank partisanship. No wonder a recent poll found only 17% of respondents thought MSM reporters would not spin stories to help their favorite candidates.
About Ari Fleischer – TIME calls him “combative and condescending.”
TIME is no doubt referring to those occasions when Fleisher would respond to a reporter with something like: “The President didn’t say that. If you’ll come to the press office after the briefing, I’ll make sure you get a copy of what he actually said. The full text of his speech has also been on the White House web site since last evening.”
TIME ends the paragraph misleading its readers with a reference to “the White House leak of the identity of a CIA officer.”
TIME knows the White House didn’t leak Valerie Plame’s identity.
The Plame leaker was former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, a TIME favorite, as is his former boss, Gen. Colin Powell, who was secretary of state at the time of the Plame leak.
Tony Snow would've immediately realized TIME dissembled in the opening paragraph to make the WH press corps look good and take shots at the Bush administration.
Given the source, he wouldn't have been surprised.
For genuine tributes to Snow see Mark Davis' I cited in this post yesterday and Mike Allen's at Politico.com and Michelle Malkin's at her blog.
I'll post later today on Fox News' tributes, especially Brit Hume's.
The entire TIME "Appreciation" is here.