The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Emergency Memo to the Trump White House: You Need to Hire Bill Sammon

Posted on | May 17, 2017 | No Comments

 

One of the stupidest habits of the media is playing courtier to politicians, acting as if the people who run the country are in need of advice from journalists. I try to refrain from this. Today I will make an exception, because the situation at the White House — e.g., “Right pushes Trump to make staff, press changes” — has reached a point where (a) something drastic needs to happen pretty damned quick, and (b) my personal knowledge and experience qualify me to offer a useful suggestion:

HIRE BILL SAMMON

The Fox News executive is exactly the right guy with the right skills to fix the Trump administration’s press operation. It doesn’t matter what his job title would be — just invent something like “senior communications adviser” or whatever — but Sammon’s the guy Trump needs now.

“Superstretch,” as President Bush dubbed the 6-foot-7 Sammon when he was chief White House correspondent for The Washington Times, is a guy who worked his way up in the news business. He has not merely survived for two decades in the D.C. media shark tank, but flourished. He is capable of remaining calm amid chaos, and has a hide as thick as a rhinoceros. During the years when Fox News was infiltrated by a “mole” who kept leaking internal staff memoranda to hostile media, Sammon was demonized by the Left (a “Right-Wing Ideologue,” according to Media Matters) but to no effect. Why? Because he does his job well, and is respected by his colleagues.

Certainly, there are likely to be differences of opinion between Bill Sammon and President Trump. In January 2016, Team Trump pointed out that Sammon’s daughter was working for Marco Rubio’s campaign, which didn’t surprise me at all. Sammon is a devout Catholic, and it makes perfect sense that his daughter would sympathize with the leading Catholic candidate in the GOP presidential field. Furthermore, I would suggest, Sammon is a well-mannered Midwesterner, an Ohio native who is probably averse to the rude New York-style aggressiveness that Trump brought to Republican politics. Yet he and Trump have one crucial thing in common: They’re about winning. Trust me on this one, friends.

Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon should invite Bill Sammon for beers to talk it over. Would the big guy be willing to become the man at the podium in the White House press room? I don’t know. Bill’s been content to work behind-the-scenes at Fox News in recent years, and maybe he wouldn’t relish becoming the media “face” of the Trump administration. On the other hand, say to him two words: Tony Snow.

Bill Sammon remembers Tony Snow, a former Washington Times columnist who became White House press secretary for President Bush. Like Sammon, Tony Snow was a Midwesterner, raised in the suburbs of Cincinnati. Tony was arguably the nicest guy ever to be White House press secretary, respected by everybody, and that’s the goal to which I would hope Bill Sammon might aspire if he were hired by Trump.

Let anyone in a position to advise the White House ask around about Bill, and consider the advantages that would be involved in having him on the team. Did you know, for example, that his former colleague Joe Curl is now assistant editor at The Drudge Report? Yeah, and how many other influential journalists in D.C. might owe Bill a few favors?

Many advantages could be gained by putting Bill Sammon in charge of White House media strategy, and let me add this: Bill is an adult. He is not one of the immature narcissists who so plague contemporary media and politics. He is about taking care of his family. My suggestion to Team Trump in negotiating to bring Bill Sammon on board is to assure him that if he will stay on the team through the 2020 campaign — serving as a loyal soldier in the Trump army, as it were — he will thereafter never have cause to worry about his family’s financial security. C’mon, what’s the point of being a billionaire, if you can’t make that kind of offer?

If the problems at the White House can be fixed by making changes in their media operation, Bill Sammon is the guy for that job.

Now, having broken my rule against offering advice to politicians, I will return to my regular job of snarking at feminists. Probably my advice to the White House will be ignored. On the off chance they do heed my counsel, however, I don’t expect to get any credit, because that would be a new Trump scandal in its own right. The SPLC and Little Green Footballs would have a conniption. But let’s just wait and see . . .

 

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