Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert

Tim Russert seems to have been an exceptionally fine
husband, father and son. I don't discount that at
all but he in no way can be considered the excellent
journalist that his co-workers are claiming him to
have been. I can't recall, and I haven't been able
to find anything on the Internet, in which he broke
or even challenged any kind of story despite operating
during a time when Washington was rife with scandal and

As a matter of fact, the endless recapping of his career
this afternoon is virtually empty as to any examples of
hard news that he uncovered. A savvy Washingtonian without
doubt but as to any pre-war skepticism, any Walter Reed-type
expose, it just never happened. And let's not forget about
the retired military men who were constantly brought out
for their supposedly objective analysis. Never a word
as to their current employment with defense contractors.
Russert was the head of NBC's Washington bureau and
said nothing but that would be expected as General
Electric, a big defense contractor itself, owns NBC.

Think of him as fine human being but not an especially
good journalist.


AArtVark said...

He was no Edward R. Murrow, that's certain. Maybe it's because the TV journalism bar is so low that people seem to think highly of him. He may have been a descent person, that I personally don't know, but that does not make for a great news man.

Remember the Reagan death week? Laments over a great president. Not much mention of Iran-Contra, the firing of air traffic controllers, etc...

I guess sometimes bringing up the truth is considered speaking ill of the recently departed and rude. But why should it be? Is is not they themselves that have lived their own lives?

Lally said...

Exactly my sentiments. And his behavior with George Stephanopolous (sp?) on that final Barack-Hilary debate was way less than stellar journalism, it was taking cues from Fox News and rightwing bloggers for irrelevant questions that avoided the substance voters need to be exposed to. Etc.

Jack said...

What is more important, being a good person or a good journalist?

Not really a fair question, but...

D.C. Confidential said...

For those of us who live and work in Washington, Russert was actually a step above the rest because he asked politicians and pundits hard-hitting questions that held them accountable. He wasn't fluff and shine. He didn't bullshit and fawn like so many people do in this town. I know from the Left Coast, having lived there and being a bluer-than-blue Democrat myself, it looks like he was soft, but in this town, he was tougher than nails. And that's saying something in a city full of naval-gazing sycophants and self-righteous snobs. All of Russert's shortcomings aside, he did a helluva job explaining the political process to Americans in a way that wasn't patronizing.