By: E&P Staff
Sunday’s column by Frank Rich in The New York Times hitting back at the White House and others (including the Wall Street Journal) for attacking his paper after it printed its banking records surveillance story — some charged it with treason — has now brought a response from one of those critics, Tony Snow.
The White House press secretary, at his daily briefing yesterday, was asked about the column and answered in a jocular way. Below is the relevant portion of the transcipt. To watch a video clip of the entire press conference, click here (transcript excerpt starts approximately 27:15 minutes into the briefing).
Q Tony, you were mentioned by The New York Times’ Frank Rich, in yesterday’s article —
MR. SNOW: Was I really? Oh, I missed it.
Q Yes, indeed, by name. It was a headline, ‘all the news that’s fit to bully.’ He charged that you, Tony, are, “insulting, for your official White House line, ‘the Journal was merely following The Times.'” I have two questions. Do you or the President take seriously this, “insulting charge,” coming from this New York Times person?
MR. SNOW: Frank should speak to his editors, and then get back to us on the characterization.
Q Do you or the President take seriously Mr. Rich’s contentions of a, “Get the press lynch mob,” and, “lynch mobs’ efforts to single out The Times,” or do you recognize this as quite obviously desperate extremism trying to ward off an indictment?
MR. SNOW: I want you to read those again. That’s so delicious, I want to hear it again.
Q We’ll do it. We’ll do it. Do you, or the President, take seriously Mr. Rich of The Times, contention of a —
MR. SNOW: No, not the whole thing, just —
Q — or do you recognize this as quite obviously desperate extremism trying to ward off an indictment?
MR. SNOW: No, I see Frank Rich enjoying his First Amendment options, which he does in a way that many of us consider quite enjoyable. (Laughter.)