Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tony Snow = Stephen Colbert?

When Tony Snow took the job as White House press secretary, many journalists held their breath. After all, what could be worse than a seasoned journalist flipping over to the 'dark side'?

In a Washington Post analysis of Snow's job performance since his acceptance, staff writer Howard Kurtz writes that Snow is coming into his own, from confrontations with the press to Republican fundraising, and sums up that so far, all signs put Snow into a unique category as speaker.

Is that category "character"?

What's really going on inside Tony Snow's head? Sure, he's perfected the television anchor-smile and the dogged work-ethic of a by-the-books journo, but he's also had moments of calling out his own former colleagues (used loosely...FOX escapes largely unscathed). While there's no denying his allegiance to his job (and employer), Snow's years of journalism under his belt, even if for a network friendly with the current adminstration, have become a win-win situation for both. Snow's ability to disperse information at any time of the day, quickly, helps the White House keep on message with the press and keeps the press on deadline for the publication.

But he draws attention to himself with a broadcast anchor-like zeal. He recognizes a good soundbyte. And he's not afraid to shoot first, make amends later, leaving him with a two-faced reputation among his former journalist colleagues.

Is Tony Snow's "press secretary" a real-life, mostly politically correct, factually grounded version of Stephen Colbert's aggressive, right-wing host?

Sure, the job of press secretary commands an actor-like delivery of the company line. But is Snow's "personal touch" drawing a line in the sand between his two jobs?

Food for thought.

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