Tony Snow: "I Don't Know"

Tony Snow is starting to melt from the pressure under this administration. Didn't he say he'd be in the loop once in a while? (read the trans

snowjob-ko.jpg Tony Snow is starting to melt from the pressure under this administration. Didn't he say he'd be in the loop once in a while? (read the transcript via Olbermann)

Olbermann: When he first started, he won praise for his candor about not knowing stuff. But he‘s now been there eight months, and sooner or later, “I don‘t know” loses the charm of “Aw, shucks, ma‘am,” and moves closer to “Well, what do you know?” In fact, Dana Milbank, in “The Washington Post” today, counts more than 400 times Mr. Snow has said, “I don‘t know,” from that famous podium.

icon Download -WMP icon Download -QT

Froomkin:

Could Snow's honeymoon with the press corps finally be over?

Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post: "When Snow took over as White House press secretary earlier this year, reporters found it refreshing that he was willing to admit when he didn't know something. This has become rather less refreshing as Snow, while claiming access to Bush's sanctum sanctorum, continues to use the phrase -- more than 400 times so far in televised briefings and interviews. Sometimes, it seems more of a tic than a response; usually, it's a brushoff. . . .

"In recent days, the 'I don't know' reply has greeted queries about whether the administration would talk to Iran and Syria, Pakistan's plans for Kashmir, benchmarks for reducing violence in Iraq, the process of preparing the federal budget, when Bush might name a new U.N. ambassador, and whether the president would address the nation about Iraq. Even the seemingly obvious -- whether Bush would be outlining 'a different course in Iraq' -- stumped Snow. 'I just -- I don't know,' he said. . . .

"Occasionally, Snow employs a variant on the refrain: I'm not going to tell you. . . .

"Unsurprisingly, this method has done some damage to briefer-questioner relations. It doesn't help that Snow, though admired for his quick wit, has been lobbing names at his inquisitors. After labeling as 'partisan' a question from NBC's David Gregory last week, Snow accused CBS's Jim Axelrod yesterday of asking a 'loaded' question; the two men exchanged unpleasant looks. Snow further branded a question by Fox's Bret Baier as 'cynical' and one from [CNN's Elaine] Quijano as 'facile.'"


↓ Story continues below ↓

You can see his attack of David Gregory here. Even Jon Stewart had some fun with this incident, but it's only going to get worse in the future. We'll see the "attack the media," meme in over drive from conservatives...

OLBERMANN: When Tony Snow from Fox News became the official spokesman for the Bush White House, emphasis on the world “official,” he drew a distinction between himself and his predecessors, assuring Americans that he would be in the loop and that he was taking the job because he would have the super-double-secret access needed to do the job properly.

In our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, did Snow really get that access? When he first started, he won praise for his candor about not knowing stuff. But he‘s now been there eight months, and sooner or later, “I don‘t know” loses the charm of “Aw, shucks, ma‘am,” and moves closer to “Well, what do you know?” In fact, Dana Milbank, in “The Washington Post” today, counts more than 400 times Mr. Snow has said, “I don‘t know,” from that famous podium.

Just this week, we‘ve scored more than a dozen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SNOW: I don‘t know.

I don‘t know.

I just don‘t know.

So I don‘t know—I honestly don‘t know how.

I don‘t know.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

OLBERMANN: When it comes to Snow‘s “I don‘t knows,” Iraq looms large.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SNOW: Neither he nor I know exactly when hostilities will cease in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will they be discussing the particulars of the Baker-Hamilton report?

SNOW: I don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) involved in these meetings read the full report?

SNOW: I don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything today he hadn‘t thought of before, or was new?

SNOW: I don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baker-Hamilton, was there anything in there that this administration hasn‘t already considered?

SNOW: I don‘t know. Again, good question. I don‘t know.

(INAUDIBLE) some—you know, (INAUDIBLE) -- you know...

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

OLBERMANN: But Mr. Snow appears to be something of a Renaissance man, not knowing things across a broad spectrum of topics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SNOW: I don‘t know the answer about security, and nor do I know about (INAUDIBLE).

I don‘t know the intent of the public statements.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying Republican Senator Smith is not in favor of democracy?

SNOW: Well, I don‘t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN: And in Snow‘s defense, sometimes there are known I-don‘t-knows, and sometimes there are the unknowable I-don‘t-knows, which does not mean he‘s not trying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SNOW: I don‘t know. That‘s what I‘m trying to find out. He—you know, I don‘t know.

I only know the fractional amount. There‘s no way that anybody‘s going to know what the vice president said to the king.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN: If you‘re wondering whether Mr. Snow actually does know and just isn‘t telling us, well, who knows?

From the question marks of Tony Snow to the question marks about Donald Rumsfeld. The defense secretary rethinks the phrase “the war on terror.” And he also has a different story about his departure than the one the president gave.

And we‘ve all heard of the running of the bulls. But the running of the drunks? No, I‘m not kidding.

About John Amato

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.