April 27, 2006 — -- There's just something about Fox News.
Not only does the cable giant have more than twice as many primetime viewers as the closest competition, but it's often the network of choice for the White House administration in terms of big-name interviews.
Now it turns out Fox is the home of the next White House press secretary, Tony Snow.
Almost all TV sets inside the White House are tuned in to Fox, and a memo on the Smoking Gun Web site showed the vice president asks his advance team to have the TV turned to Fox before he arrives in his hotel room.
Certainly, the White House offers exclusives to all the networks, including ABC. Media expert Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post says the Fox-White House relationship isn't the problem here.
"The problem is that there is a perception that they've treated all the press corps with disdain," Kurtz said. "That is more of an issue than what their favorite news channel happens to be."
Predictably, the late-night comics had some fun with Snow's appointment.
"Snow once said about Bush that he was an embarrassment, a leader who has lost control over the federal budget, and the architect of a listless domestic policy," Jay Leno said on "The Tonight Show." "Good thing for Snow that Bush doesn't read the newspaper."
Crossover between media and politics is not necessarily unusual. ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos served in the Clinton administration as the senior adviser to the president for policy and strategy prior to joining ABC.
"I think there's a lot of symmetry between the industries, and I don't think it's going to be an issue," said Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary to the Bush administration.
"The biggest hurdle for Tony Snow will be a psychological adjustment, getting used to delivering talking points instead of speaking his mind," said Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's Sunday morning program, "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."
To be a good press secretary, Snow will have to become a "double agent," Stephanopoulos said.