July 12, 2008, - 11:25 pm

Tony Snow, My Friend & a Real Mensch, R.I.P.

By Debbie Schlussel
I’m very saddened to learn of the passing of my friend, Tony Snow, from cancer, this morning. I’ve known Tony for more than two decades–since I was literally in junior high school, and he was an editorial writer for The Detroit News before it transformed into the Detroit Newsistan. At that time, the newspaper was actually worth reading, and under then-Editorial Page Editor Thomas Bray, Tony was a rising star as his deputy. Tony was not afraid to write very pro-Israel editorials in the face of rising Muslim and Arab whining in town.
My late dad introduced me to Tony’s writing in the paper. And I used to see Tony at Michigan Republican events, when I was a young teen, and, later, at political forums for high school students put on by my Congressman, at which he spoke. In those days, it wasn’t hip to be a young conservative and we conservatives stuck together, especially in the Detroit area. Tony was always kind to me and to everyone around him.

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Always handsome with movie star good looks, Tony was equally handsome on the inside. He told me that he began his career, not as a journalist, but as a Christian missionary doing humanitarian work in Africa and helping poor people. And like that time in his life, no matter how famous he became, Tony Snow never took on airs or became snooty. Though he had many reasons to be, he was never conceited. Just the opposite. Tony Snow always remained a nice, down to earth, mensch of a guy. I know I was not the only one who can say that he always returned my phone calls and spent a lot of time talking with me about politics, whether he was still at The Detroit News or atop the world at FOX News Channel and the White House (he worked for both Dan Quayle and the Bushes).
Among our frequent topics of discussion was the downward spiral and utter decline of his former home, The Detroit News and its editorial page under then-editor Mark Silverman and editorial page editor and Islamopandering phony, Nolan Finley. Finley engineered the public firing of brilliant editorial page editor Thomas Bray (who hired Tony and gave him his first major newspaper job), because Finley wanted the job and wasn’t deserving of it.
So, it’s kind of ironic–not to mention, funny–to see Finley’s column in today’s Detroit paper bragging about how he visited Tony in Washington at the White House. That’s the way Tony was. He was nice to insufferables like Nolan Finley, even though, privately, Finley’s behavior disgusted him, as it did many others.
Unlike most of the on-air personalities at FOX News, Tony never became an egomaniac, not even a hint of it. And FOX News was not always kind to him. Even though he was a great host of “FOX News Sunday” and joined the network when no-one watched, helping to build the Sunday show into what it became, FOX News dumped him for liberal Chris Wallace for no apparent valid reason. And, for a good while, they restricted Tony in his ability to write a syndicated column, something they did not do with faux-conservative Bill O’Reilly and others at the network.
Sure, FOX News gave him a nationally syndicated radio show, but the show ran on many obscure stations in smaller markets, tape-delayed in most markets, late at night, so he got few live callers into his show. That frustrated him. At the end, despite the money, I don’t think it was a hard choice for him to leave the network for the Bush White House. Yes, there was a reason that toward the end of his life, when he returned to private life, he signed on with CNN and did not return to FOX News.
Tony was smart, a nice guy, and a pleasure to talk to. His style as a conservative commentator and columnist was effective, but softspoken, very civil, and understated. That’s why, in addition to his very congenial nature, Tony was respected by many of his liberal colleagues, who miss him as well. He was the epitome of a “hail fellow well met” and also a gentleman. He was a class act, and I feel for his young family.
I was glad to call Tony Snow, my friend. He will be missed greatly.
Tony Snow, Rest In Peace.

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16 Responses

Tony Snow, Rest In Peace.
AMEN…

Jackson Pearson on July 13, 2008 at 1:25 am

Debbie, that is a very touching tribute. All the more noteworthy in view of the disgraceful piece in the AP studded with cheap shots at this fine man who tragically passed away before his time.

Gary Rosen on July 13, 2008 at 2:29 am

A number of conservatives have passed away this year. That’s a heartfelt tribute to a great guy who will be sadly missed. He had qualities that one seldom sees in people of his stature. Tony Snow never let fame get to him and he always remembered where he came from. He will find a place in the hearts of all who love freedom, dignity and courage. His own lost battle with cancer embodied all those qualities that we look for in ourselves and for our country. Go in peace unto G-d, Tony Snow.

NormanF on July 13, 2008 at 5:03 am

Sad news for the world. I never knew about the local roots or his christian work. A decent man. R.I.P.

samurai on July 13, 2008 at 8:49 am

I always thought that Tony Snow would do a much better job then Bill O’Reilly on the 8:oo PM slot on Fox. O’Reilly is a bloviating jackass all too often.
Tony Snow a nice man who I will never forget on 9/11/01 asking Colin Powell what he thought about the Palestinians celebrating the murders that day – something nobody else in the media would ever ask since the Palis are a protected species.
There should be nobody dying of cancer any more (I just read that former Yankee Bobby Murcer just succumbed to brain cancer at age 62) in this day and age. Having lost my mother to cancer (ovarian), and my sister being a cancer survivor I am extremely cancer phobic and I wish we would spend as much time trying to cure it as we did trying to prevent the mythical heterosexual AIDS outbreak that never happened. Don’t expect any cures to come from the Islamic or Communist world.

Ripper on July 13, 2008 at 9:01 am

R.I.P., Tony. You were a class act in a profession where ego, self-centeredness, hostility, and backstabbing are the norm.
I always enjoyed reading your columns, watching your show on Fox News Sunday, and relished watching you piss-off the White House Press Corps by not allowing them to get under your skin.
Even Roger Ailes betrayed you by trying to have Fox News appeal to Left-wing audiences by putting LIBERAL Chris Wallace in your place after you put that show (Fox News Sunday) on the map.
I pray for you and your family.

Thee_Bruno on July 13, 2008 at 9:38 am

I’ll miss Tony Snow. Class act. I had no idea how fox treated him. How disgusting. No wonder he went to cnn after he finished his job at the white house.
God Bless his family.

diaphanous on July 13, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for this tribute to a fine man, Tony Snow, whom I always took a liking to–though from far away. It is nice that you have this perspective, Debbie, from the past and so much positive history of your own dealings and observations of his life and work.
I recall when I first heard that he had colon cancer–couldn’t say when it was, not that long ago it seems. I didn’t see/hear Tony on the air for some time, then saw him back on TV right at the end of his chemo and it was hard to see what had happened to him. He then seemed to get better, but underneath the uplift I got from seeing him back on–I was always wondering, will the cancer come back? I had mixed feelings seeing him shielding Bush from the press reporters so well. I didn’t even realize he was close to death till the word came that he had passed.
Another moral of that story is–treat every day and every opportunity as precious. Thanks G-d for a good man like Tony Snow.

BB on July 13, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Tony Snow was good on most issues except for Kosovo where he was in lock step with the rest of the MSM in the West in unjustly demonizing the Serbs and covering for Muslim mass murder in the Balkans. He probably didn’t know what actually happened in the Balkans so I don’t mean to lean to hard on his memory. My father died like Tony; I know what he went through. God bless him.

arius on July 13, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Is Chris Wallace liberal? All I can remember is Bill Clinton wagging his finger at him and Keith Olbermann calling him a monkey. Someone please enlighten me on this. HIs fahter (and let us not heep the sins of the father on the sons head) is a self hating Jew in the mold of Robert Novak that’s for sure.

Ripper on July 13, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Debbie thanks for the moving tribute to Tony Snow. He was definitely one of the good guys. May he rest in peace.

ParaLyzer on July 13, 2008 at 8:48 pm

I was hoping he would beat this

mindy1 on July 13, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Tony Snow was a class act. Too bad the media is not spending half as much time on Tony as they did Tim Russett. When is America going to wake up and see the media for what it is?

caitlynn on July 14, 2008 at 8:21 am

When I think of Tony Snow’s untimely passing, I think of the comments Christopher Lee had about his onscreen-enemy/real-life best friend Peter Cushing when Cushing died: they were too good for the world.

richardzowie on July 14, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Of all the limbaughnistas at Fox “news,” besides Neil Cavuto Tony was the only one who even came close to being ‘fair & balance.’ When he went to be press secretary for Herr Bush, i thought he brought a little CLASS to an otherwise shoddy outfit.
Having seen too many people die battling cancer, it sure as hell is not a nice way to go out—but he went out courageously—almost like Lou Gehring!!!

EminemsRevenge on July 14, 2008 at 9:48 pm

As I just told David Limbaugh, Tony Snow had this Heavenly aura about him. Now that you have told us he was a Christian Missionary, that explains that Heavenly aura I sense about him.
God kept laying this burden on my heart to warn George W. about Scott McClellan, and I did so on several occasions. The first time I heard Tony in a press conference, I immediately wrote George W. and told him I knew without a doubt he had the right man finally working for him as his Press Secretary. I’ll bet it devastated George W. to learn his dear friend, Tony, had cancer; most especially to learn he had died! Unlike Scott, Tony was loyal to our President! That’s a rare quality today, unfortunately, because today we live in a World filled with greedy, vindictive people who aren’t genuine Christians, like Tony was!
I have already expressed my condolences to Tony’s family, but I think we should also express them to President Bush, Tony’s friend!

BJ1949 on July 16, 2008 at 4:07 am

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