Snow takes press post

Fox News pundit introduced as press secretary

President Bush introduced Fox News pundit Tony Snow as his press secretary on Wednesday in a bid to improve hostile relations with the White House press corps.

“Tony already knows most of you, and he’s agreed to take the job anyway,” the president quipped at a White House appearance.

In making the appointment, Bush stressed Snow’s experience in print, radio and television, and his connections to the press corps, which sparred with his predecessor, Scott McClellan, who ankled last week as part of a shakeup of the administration by new chief of staff Joshua Bolten.

“As a professional journalist, Tony Snow understands the importance of the relationship between the government and those whose job it is to cover the government,” the president said.

White House stint will be the second for Snow, who worked for the president’s father during 1991-93 as a presidential speechwriter and deputy assistant for media affairs.

Snow was among Roger Ailes’ first hires at Fox News Channel when it launched in 1996. Recently, he’d served as host of FNC’s “Weekend Live With Tony Snow,” and he also was a Fox News political analyst.

But his primary gig was hosting Fox News’ “The Tony Snow Show,” a daily three-hour talker with a weekly audience of 1.25 million.

Fox announced plans to replace Snow on the radio with a new show, “Brian and the Judge,” featuring “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade and FNC legal analyst Andrew Napolitano.

When Snow joined Fox, he launched the network’s Sunday morning public affairs show, “Fox News Sunday,” but was pushed out in favor of Chris Wallace in 2003. His star at Fox dimmed a bit after he was reprimanded for speaking to a GOP youth group during the Republican convention in 2000.

Snow will take a big pay cut in leaving the media for the White House, where he’ll make $166,000 per year as press secretary. Snow is reported to have secured assurances from the White House that he will be involved in policy decisionmaking in addition to explaining those decisions to the public.