Tony Takes On

Tony Takes On

Tony Takes On

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
April 26 2006 5:18 PM

Tony Takes On

Bloggers adjust their sets for Snow, and they chat delicately about United 93. They also probe the unlikely dual rendezvous of Rumsfeld and Rice in Iraq.

Tony takes on: Tony Snow gratefully accepted the Bush administration's offer to become the next White House press secretary, replacing Scott McClellan. A prominent Fox News analyst and conservative pundit, Snow is seen by bloggers as either an invigorating tonic for the president's volatile chemistry with the media or as a wannabe apparatchik who finally made the show.

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"He's exactly what the White House needs" is howMichelle Malkin sums up the conservative consensus on Snow. Brian Maloney at the right-wing Radio Equalizer notices a new trend in sudden Snow detraction since the Fox analyst's candidacy was announced: "Suddenly, mild-mannered TV news anchor/radio talk show host Tony Snow has become Insta-devil to the left, while previously not a major target. Why not? Because rather than readily engage in partisan bomb-throwing, Snow has always been far more cautious."

But "cautious" also translates as "remarkably hostile to Bush." Taking a cue from a compendium of critical Snow quotes compiled by ThinkProgress, the blog of the American Progress Action Fund, Andrew Sullivan already likes the new guy, if not exactly the work cut out for him: "I agree that 'George W. Bush and his colleagues have become not merely the custodians of the largest government in the history of humankind, but also exponents of its vigorous expansion' … But I'm not going to stand in front of the press and defend this record now, am I? … Good luck, Tony. You'll need it."

Steve Soto at the liberal Left Coaster writes that Snow causes him less "heartburn" than other possible pressmen: "[T]o have a conservative spinmeister and apologist be your new mouthpiece, for an administration that treats the press as nothing more than extensions of their propaganda operation, doesn't seem out of line to me. … Sure, he has little credibility, but when did that matter?"

"Final good bye to Scotty," pings D.C. political skewer Wonkette, "who's suddenly looking like the nicest and most open champion of the Press ever next to the slick, coiffed, and trained motherfucker who sidles up to the mic and manages to fit more smooth bullshit into his 15 second greeting than McClellan could manage in a whole briefing."

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Read more about Snow's new government gig.

United 93 takes off: Critical adulation greets United 93, the new film, about the lone flight not to reach its target on Sept. 11, which premiered last night at New York's Tribeca Film Festival. Bloggers bestow their own solemn accolades on the work, while conferring certificates of correct thinking on its politically tilted publicists.

Hollywood-centric site Spin and Stir applauds the festival's decision to lead off with the poignant reminder of national horror: "Tribeca Film Festival was thrust forward after 9/11 to help bring business and attention to a devasted downtown after the attacks. Thus, it is especially appropriate for them to pay a homage to that time with a film that is really the first to deal with that day."

Conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel,who saw the film, welcomes its unblinking realism: "Most Hollywood directors and writers ... could learn a thing or two from this movie's director/writer Paul Greengrass, who did not make editorial comment. He stuck strictly the 9/11 commission reports and recountings of conversations provided by relatives and ground crews."

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David Heigel at libertarian Reason magazine's blog, Hit and Run, synthesizes some of the kerfuffle surrounding Greengrass' decision to replace the film's final title, which had originally read "The war on terror has begun," with a less "divisive" eulogistic dedication to the victims: "This crystalizes a view that's been fairly prevalent among pro-war journalists, critics, and bloggers. 'United 93' is more than a movie—it's going to help the president and the war effort by reminding Americans of 'That Day.' "

The World Newser, the daily blog of ABC World News Tonight, has mostly praise for United but sounds uneasy about the money-mouth relationship that perforce defines a major movie studio approaching the subject of real terrorism: "As someone who has reported extensively on United 93, I was surprised that the hijacker Ziad Jarrah's own spoken transmissions—'We have a bomb on board'—were not included. In talking with Greengrass after the movie, he explained to me that he left that out because it wasn't useful for the 'storytelling.' "

Read more about United 93. Slate staffers discussed the film's trailer here.

A dual pop-in:Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Iraq Wednesday to welcome the new premiership of Jawad al-Maliki and underscore the need for a unified government. Bloggers see little but the fecklessness of a PR stunt.

Freelancer and grad student Hampton Stephens gets mixed signals from the curiously bundled visit but is ultimately hopeful: "A rare show of solidarity between Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a joint visit to Baghdad today could either go down in the history of the Iraq war as the coda to a failed American campaign, or as the point where things stopped getting worse and started getting better. ... God willing, as the Muslims say, this last push will succeed in turning Iraq around, for the sake of both the Iraqi people and the reputation of the United States of America."

Steven D at the anti-war Booman Tribe cites as one of three possible reasons for the unheralded visit Washington's wish to have the new Iraqi prime minister bottle up Shiite extremists: "Obviously they weren't getting anywhere with Jaafari and President Jalabani in this regard before now, so maybe they think a show of force ... by 2 of the administration's heavyweights will provide sufficient pressure on the new Prime Minister, Jawad al-Maliki, to shut down the torture chambers and death squads being run out of Iraq's Interior Ministry and (reputedly) elements of the Iraqi police and armed forces."

Read more about the Rumsfeld/Rice sojourn.