Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Isn't it a little cold for Snow?

I'm really not getting the Bush upside of hiring Fox pundit Tony Snow as Press Secretary. Does Bush think it makes him look better, somehow more open to new ideas, to hire an outsider? Makes him look better to hire someone who has actually publicly disagreed with a few things he's said? Or will hiring a journalist heal the stormy relationship between the administration and the press?

Perhaps it's all of the above. Perhaps the poll numbers have gotten so low that he's willing to do something, anything new to come in out of the popularity chill. What is he at, a 32% approval rating right now?

For all that has been said about Snow's hacking at Bush, let's not forget that Snow is a conservative, long-time Bush family supporter. Which is why he wanted this job. This particular job for which he negotiated so carefully. WaPo reports that Snow refused to sign on until he was assured an expanded role, including input into policy decisions and lots of access to Bush. Does Snow really think Bush will do more than give him a seat at the table? Certainly not Dubya's style, to listen to outsiders, even inside outsiders.

And, speaking of snow jobs (come on, I get to use it at least once!), what about the reality that, of those sitting on FDA advisory committees (the committees that recommend drug approvals), over 25% have financial connections to drug companies. The LA Times article seemed to spin the study that determined this positively: even though lots have these connections, if you'd gotten rid of those with connections, approvals would have stayed the same. But the WaPo article notes an author of the study who says, "For every additional conflict you have a 10 percent increased probability that the meeting will favor the company more."

I don't know about you, but I'd prefer my drugs conflict-free. I'd like to know that those considering whether or not a drug is safe for the market are completely uninfluenced by cash in any way, shape or form. Otherwise, I really don't trust the messenger.

Of course, as an unrelated op-ed in the LA Times points out, most of us don't trust the drug companies, either. So we can't trust the drug companies, because their research is all aimed at making new and more expensive meds the new norm. And we can't trust the government to oversee the approving of new meds as over 25% of those assisting in this endeavor have financial ties to those same drug companies?

So, who can we trust? Tony Snow? I find both the messengers and the messages suspect, in all of the above.



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