Sunday, July 13, 2008

R.I.P. Tony Snow

There is plenty of coverage across the Internet and on television news programs on the death of Tony Snow, but to just let it pass without an entry here would be wrong. Tony Snow was that rare modern-day newsman who was accepted and respected by the mainstream media even though he did not subscribe to their usual liberal school of thought. Born in 1955 in Kentucky, Snow was raised in Cincinnati by his father, a school principal, and his mother who died of colon cancer when Snow was just 17 years old. He graduated from Davidson College in 1977, and began work as a newspaper editor in North Carolina for The Greensboro Record in 1979. His editorial career eventually led him to take over the editorial page at the prestigious The Washington Times from 1987-1991. Throughout the 1990's he worked as a regular columnist at USA Today, made numerous television news appearances, and also was syndicated to over 200 newspapers throughout the country. He took a sabbatical from 1991-1993 to work in the administration of President George H.W. Bush as a speech writer and media assistant. In the mid-90's, Snow took over as the regular substitute host for The Rush Limbaugh Show on radio, and in 2003 began The Tony Snow Show on Fox News radio. Snow had become one of the leading conservative voices in America, making numerous Fox News appearances and often substituting on television for Bill O'Reilly, but his professionalism and fairness gained him the respect from both sides of the aisle in Washington and from his media colleagues across the ideological spectrum. In April of 2006, Tony Snow was named as the new White House Press Secretary, the main face and voice of the administration of President George W. Bush, a position that he held until being overwhelmed by the same colon cancer that had taken the life of his mother 35 years earlier, that would eventually take his life yesterday. Tony was an avid musician who played the flute, trombone, piccolo, accordion, saxophone, and guitar. He was a part of a cover band called Beats Workin' and got to play publicly with members of Jethro Tull, the Doobie Brothers, and Steely Dan. Tony Snow is survived by his wife of 21 years, Jill Ellen Walker, two daughters and a son. Not many come along like Tony Snow, who combine class, intelligence, humor, and a general overall good-natured demeanor that comes through no matter what your opinions of his political views. During a time of severe political partisanship in America, the loss of men like Snow and Tim Russert, who passed away a few weeks ago, is a serious blow to American journalism, and a loss for us all.

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