On ABC's This Week, Stephanopoulos and Shipman touted Snow's walk-in access, but Snow said predecessors had it, too

››› ››› ROB MORLINO

On ABC's This Week, ABC News' Claire Shipman credited incoming White House press secretary Tony Snow with having "managed to negotiate ... a seat at the decision-making table." Host George Stephanopoulos agreed, saying, "I talked to him at the end of the week. He insists that he's got walk-in privileges." However, Snow himself has said he will have the same access to President Bush as his predecessors.

During the April 30 broadcast of ABC's This Week, ABC News senior national correspondent Claire Shipman credited Fox News personality Tony Snow, the incoming White House press secretary, with having "managed to negotiate ... a seat at the decision-making table." Host George Stephanopoulos agreed, saying, "I talked to him at the end of the week. He insists that he's got walk-in privileges." However, as Media Matters for America noted, Snow himself has said he will have the same access to President Bush as his predecessors.

Discussing the role Snow will fulfill as press secretary within the Bush administration, Shipman said, "Well, we know this White House has bigger problems than communications, but I do think Tony Snow can make a difference. First of all, because I think if he really managed to negotiate, as he said, a seat at the decision-making table -- not that he'll be the decider, as we know, but maybe have some influence." But, during the April 26 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Snow said his predecessors had the same access that he will have -- contrary to Shipman's and Stephanopoulos's suggestions:

HUME: First of all, tell me about the assurances you have about your access to all that goes on in the White House and your access to the president.

SNOW: Well, the press secretaries in this White House have all had what they call walk-in access. So, when you need to, you can walk in and you can talk to the president. And I've talked with them. And basically I have access to every meeting and every bit of information I need to get my hands on.

Prior to April 26, several news outlets reported that Snow was negotiating for increased access to Bush and a direct role in shaping press policy. The National Journal's weblog, The Hotline, reported (subscription required) on April 25 that "Snow is said by Republicans familiar with the negotiations to have asked for guaranteed access to the president's ear and to an unusually large degree of latitude to reconfigure the WH press operation."

As Media Matters noted, despite Snow's statement on Special Report, the Los Angeles Times reported on April 27 that Snow had pushed for and obtained unscheduled access to the president. Media Matters also noted that, during the April 27 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Shipman said that when Snow takes over, "[p]robably one of the first things he's going to do" is tune White House televisions to stations other than Fox News. She said Snow is likely do so "because he knows that this White House needs another point of view" but offered no other evidence to support her prediction.

From the April 30 edition of ABC's This Week:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Claire, how long does the honeymoon last?

SHIPMAN: Day Two of his job. Look, I think every White House, as you know, George, wants to make the case that it's all a communications problem and if we can fix that, everything is going to be great. Well, we know this White House has bigger problems than communications, but I do think Tony Snow can make a difference. First of all, because I think if he really managed to negotiate, as he said, a seat at the decision-making table -- not that he'll be the decider, as we know, but maybe have some influence.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I talked to him at the end of the week. He insists that he's got walk-in privileges. He's going be in all the strategy meetings.

SHIPMAN: I mean, yeah, an outsider's voice could help. But I also think, look, people are going to start paying attention to the briefings. That may seem a small thing, but it's not. I mean, he has charisma. He's got some star wattage. People will start listening to what the White House is saying. We've all tuned it out because we've known they've never said anything.

Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Claire Shipman, George Stephanopoulos
Show/Publication
This Week
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.