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...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert -- Dead

NBC newsman, and one of the most respected journalists in America, Tim Russert, is dead today of a heart attack. He was 58.

In terms of unexpected shock value, this outdoes the passing of Frank Reynolds (predecessor of Peter Jennings), and Charles Kuralt -- perhaps only trumped by the death of the self-same Peter Jennings, of throat cancer.

Journalists being struck down, either by infirmity or death, seem to be a more common occurence these days. NBC was especially hard hit when popular correspondent, David Bloom, died of a deep vein thrombosis, due to being embedded inside an US tank in Iraq (often constricted in the same position).

But Russert's passing is particularly haunting, as recently it was said he was one of two opponents to the new tone of political bias on his associate cable channel, MSNBC.

Both he and David Gregory had apparently wished to separate themselves from the rank partisanship expressed by MSNBC journalists, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. Now Gregory must go it alone, against a tetchy Olbermann (with a history of walking away from jobs in a snit), and rude boy Chris Matthews.

But even the towering David Gregory had been called on the carpet once by Tim Russert, for his imperious tone to wait staff at a restaurant:

"About a month ago, he joined NBC colleague Tim Russert at a Washington D.C. restaurant for dinner, where he showed his lack of appreciation for the help. David Gregory: Not a consummate dining companion?

The twosome’s waitress somehow messed up their dinner order, and Gregory [...] let’s say, caustically reminded her how bad she erred.

But the server wasn’t the only one who got a scolding: Russert chewed Gregory out for his tactless behavior. “Russert warned Gregory never to behave that way in front of him again,”."

In a business where arrogant and rude get results, Russert's Buffalo working-class boy attitude rarely failed to seem just a bit better than the rest. He never forgot his origins, and why he loved doing what he did.

Certainly American journalism is the poorer for his passing. RIP.

UPDATE: Is it ghoulish to start wondering who his long-term replacement will be on Meet The Press? Perhaps, but some in the Blogosphere already are.

Picking a replacement for Tim will be hard, but in the middle of an election season a few names come to mind, like David Gregory, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, John Harwood, Chuck Todd or Andrea Mitchell.

Hey, it's journalism. It's ghoulish by default. As Don Henley cynically said, "Get the widow on the set, give me dirty laundry...".


Altouse Dreads To Think Of Elections Without Him
Hugh Hewitt Calls Russert 'A Great American'
Right Voices Reminds Us Big Russ (His Father) Outlived His Son
Malkin Praises Russert For Courtesy
Times Like This I Don't Feel Very Clever Or Nice

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  • Thanks Victoria,

    I really dread the possiblities of his replacement

    By Blogger The Drill SGT, at Fri Jun 13, 05:49:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Thanks for your comment, Drill SGT. Very gracious at this time.

    I coincidentally just updated the post, with another blogger wondering the same thing.

    All I hope is, please not Keith Olbermann...

    Wonder if Katie Couric might do it? Or might she even be offered a return to NBC now?


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Jun 13, 05:55:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Rest in peace Tim.

    My prayers to the Russert family.

    By Anonymous AmeriDan, at Fri Jun 13, 07:10:00 pm GMT-4  

  • That was very kind, AmeriDan. Thanks for the comment. :)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Jun 14, 02:44:00 am GMT-4  

  • Outside the box replacement:Bill O'Reilley.

    That would shake up the MSM huh and Olbermann. Does NBC have the gonads to do something like that?

    No they do not.

    By Blogger AJ Lynch, at Sat Jun 14, 12:36:00 pm GMT-4  

  • All of this discussion reminds me of how much I miss David Brinkley...

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Jun 14, 06:28:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Here's an out-of-the-box suggestion: Luke Russert. Did you see his 15 minute interview with Matt Lauer on Today [Monday, June 16]? He is pretty impressive. I think it would hit the young demographics they're striving for and he's a new graduate, so he'd come cheap.

    I'm only half-joking. Go see that kid on the interview. I think he had more composure than Lauer.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Mon Jun 16, 03:38:00 pm GMT-4  

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