Heartbreakingly sad news this morning. Tony Snow has died. He was 53. He was a true mensch, multi-talented–and one of the kindest people I had the honor to meet in the news business.
Tony Snow, the former White House press secretary and conservative pundit who bedeviled the press corps and charmed millions as a FOX News television and radio host, has died after a long bout with cancer. He was 53.
A syndicated columnist, editor, TV anchor, radio show host and musician, Snow worked in nearly every medium in a career that spanned more than 30 years.
“The White House has lost a great friend and a great colleague,” said President Bush’s press secretary and Snow’s former deputy, Dana Perino. “We all loved watching him at the podium, but most of all we learned how to love our families and treat each other.”
Snow joined FOX in 1996 as the original anchor of “FOX News Sunday” and hosted “Weekend Live” and a radio program, “The Tony Snow Show,” before departing in 2006. A sometime fill-in host for Rush Limbaugh, Snow said he loved the intimacy of his radio audience.
“It’s a tremendous loss for us who knew him, but it’s also a loss for the country,” Roger Ailes, chairman of FOX News, said Saturday morning about Snow, calling him a “renaissance man.”
Indeed, he was. Here’s Tony jamming with his band at the National Press Club:
And here’s the statement from the White House:
“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend, Tony Snow. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jill, and their children, Kendall, Robbie, and Kristi. The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character.
Tony was one of our Nation’s finest writers and commentators. He earned a loyal following with incisive radio and television broadcasts. He was a gifted speechwriter who served in my father’s Administration. And I was thrilled when he agreed to return to the White House to serve as my Press Secretary. It was a joy to watch Tony at the podium each day. He brought wit, grace, and a great love of country to his work. His colleagues will cherish memories of his energetic personality and relentless good humor.
All of us here at the White House will miss Tony, as will the millions of Americans he inspired with his brave struggle against cancer. One of the things that sustained Tony Snow was his faith – and Laura and I join people across our country in praying that this good man has now found comfort in the arms of his Creator.”
Doug Powers: “Stay classy, Associated Press.”
The AP just can’t help but take a swing at a conservative who just died:
With a quick-from-the-lip repartee, broadcaster’s good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook — if not always a command of the facts — he became a popular figure around the country to the delight of his White House bosses.
Classy. When all is said and done though, being accused of not always having a command of the facts by an Associated Press writer is like Joe Hazelwood calling you a lousy boat skipper, and as such doesn’t really qualify as an effective insult.
Tony’s humanity always shined in his writing. This is from a column he wrote for Christianity Today last July reflecting on his bout with cancer:
Blessings arrive in unexpected packages—in my case, cancer.
Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God’s will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.
The first is that we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to answer the why questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can’t someone else get sick? We can’t answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.
I don’t know why I have cancer, and I don’t much care. It is what it is—a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.
But despite this—because of it—God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don’t know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.
Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.
To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life—and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many nonbelieving hearts—an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live—fully, richly, exuberantly—no matter how their days may be numbered.