Wednesday, June 18, 2008
As mentioned in a prior post, I admired the work of the recently deceased news broadcaster Tim Russert, but I am a bit leery of NBC's week-long saturation tributes to the man. Keith Olberman, someone else whom I admire for his pioneering willingness to fire back at the Right Wing Noise Machine, went over board last night during his popular Countdown segment "Worst Persons in the World" when he went to great length to excoriate California Representative Daryl Issa for segueing from a Russert tribute to a partisan pitch for lifting the ban on off shore oil drilling. Tacky, tasteless, in bad taste and all, but Olbermann was at the edge of getting shrill. It's one to project a cooley aimed anger when making special comments regarding torture and the like, but the Issa bit was small potatos, small beer, too small a catch to break a sweat over. Jack Shafer of Slate agrees that it's time to stop the excessive mourning and do what Russert did, roll up the sleeves and get back to work.
Friday, June 13, 2008
NBC host of Meet the Press Tim Russert died today of a heart attack. He was 58 years old, too young.
He was a firebrand interviewer, famous for making Republican and Democratic politicians squirm with this jabbing questioning style. Anyone who'd watched Meet the Press couldn't help but feel sympathy for the guest who showed up unprepared, without a plan or a consistent history of policy thinking who found themselves being expertly dissected by Russert's questions; Russert's reputation as a passionate, thorough yet fair inquisitor was legendary, and one was left to wonder why any politico, elected or otherwise, would bother showing with less than their best game.
His effectiveness had something to do that he seemed to do his homework , and his staff was very good at finding past guest statements about issues that contradicting more recent utterances where opinions and agendas were at least mollified, softened, or at least soft pedaled. No one was better in revealing politicians who desired power for its own sake rather than use for doing the people's business.Tim Russert will be missed, and one hopes NBC has the good fortune to replace him with some of similar punch.