When George W. Bush tapped Fox News personality Tony Snow to be his press secretary last week, it was hardly the first time the media-savvy White House has poached TV news talent.
For all his professed disdain for what he has called "the filter," the president seems to be quite fond of broadcasters—so long as they’re playing for his all-star team. Karen Hughes, Bush’s message maven who gave the world "compassionate conservatism," was a reporter at NBC affiliate KXAS Ft. Worth, Texas, for seven years before leaping into Republican politics.J. Dorrance Smith, the new assistant secretary of defense for public affairs (and successor to onetime NCTA flak Tori Clarke), was executive producer of This Week With David Brinkley and Nightline.Scott Sforza, a former Good Morning America producer, helped design the U.S. Central Command’s $250,000 wartime media set in Qatar and choreographed some of Bush’s most brazen TV stunts, including his Top Gun landing on the U.S.S. Lincoln.
Then there are former NBC cameraman Bob DeServi and ex-Fox News producer Greg Jenkins, and Patrick Rhode, who presumably learned all he needed to know about disaster management as a news anchor in Arkansas and Alabama before he became chief of staff for FEMA washout Michael "Brownie" Brown at the emergency agency.
And though only a contractor for Health and Human Services, video-news-release queen Karen Ryan didn’t just play a journalist on TV. She really was one ... once.