Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow, 1955 - 2008. R. I. P.

Dallas Morning News and ABC talk show host Mark Davis paid tribute today to former White House press secretary and fellow talk show host Tony Snow, dead at age 53 following a long, courageous battle with colon cancer.

Drawing on his memories of Snow, his knowledge of Washington and the media, and an appreciation for what’s most important in all our lives, Davis began - - -

Looking ahead to the weekend, I was telling listeners Friday that Fox News Sunday and CBS' Face the Nation may experience a serious uptick in viewers as the election season plays out.

The reason: the decision to give Tom Brokaw the Meet the Press chair for the rest of the year, while heartwarming, is not going to work out well in actual practice.

This is not a job for an anchor or a reporter (sorry, Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory). It is a job for a host-- a creative and entertaining questioner respected along the political spectrum as fair and honest (sorry, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews).

So on Friday morning I asked rhetorically: "I wonder how Tony Snow is doing?" His was truly the only name of sufficient caliber that occurred to me.

Now I know the answer to that question, and another titan of modern American media has fallen.

Like Tim Russert before him, Tony Snow brought an infectious passion and likability to his craft. He brought those skills not only to his media jobs in print, radio and television, but to the White House, where he was a speechwriter for the first President Bush and press secretary for the second.

His 17 months at the White House press room podium made predecessor Scott McClellan look like the useless shlub history now reveals him to be.

When Tony Snow took over that post in Spring 2006, one of President Bush's key problems was the passionless ineptitude that poisoned the delivery of his message.

Snow fixed that in one day, establishing a style of addressing the press with conviction and humor. There had been no one like him before, and I don't see anyone equaling him again.

But there have been a lot of good White House press secretaries, and a lot of good TV hosts and writers. It was his radio show that proved from 2003 to 2006 that he was an even rarer breed-- someone who could move from print and television into the completely different world of talk radio.

History is littered with failed talk show attempts by people who seemed interesting at something else. But there is little if anything in writing, acting or government service that equips one to offer opinions compellingly for three hours while taking extemporaneous calls from the public.

Tony did it, and he was great at it. Just like everything else he did.

And by that I mean more than his very public jobs. He was a man of varied interests, wide and deep friendships and a master of many musical instruments. He also managed to navigate through a government and media career while maintaining his most important job-- his devotion to his wife and kids. . …

Continue reading Davis’ tribute here.

My appreciation to where I found Davis’ tribute.

Tony Snow, 1955 – 2008. R. I. P.


Anonymous said...

John -

I was saddened to learn of Tony Snow's death at the early age of 53. Before I stopped watching the talking heads on TV, he had been one of my favorites; and I also enjoyed his columns in the Washington Times. Moreover, I thought was been a great choice for Press Secretary. I will miss him.

Jack in Silver Spring

Anonymous said...

Tony Snow will really be missed.

His cancer had been in remission and I thought he might just beat it. Once that plague spreads to the liver or the pancreas, it's a death sentence that no modern medical miracles can cure.

FOX NEWS has now hired Larry Elder for a special show on weekends. Like Tony, he is able to move from writing, television, on to a very successful radio show on KABC that he's had for years.

I hope FOX will highlight Elder more.

R.I.P. Tony.