Friday, June 13, 2008

A Note about Tim Russert

Today was a sad day.

I am usually pretty jaded about celebrity deaths. I'm not sure why, but hearing that someone famous has died usually doesn't matter to me. But when I heard that Tim Russert had died suddenly today, I felt the loss in a real way.

No I didn't know him, or meet him. Meet the Press was always on my DVR list, but I often fast forwarded through his soft interviews. I didn't read his book.

But in an era when the media has turned almost entirely to position politics, taking sides like Fox News or NBC, and not even hiding their biases in their reporting, it came as a shock that one of the last real journalists was gone so suddenly.

His reporting style was always worth watching, especially when he was facing off with people in real power. Okay, his style of pulling up quotes form 20 years ago sometimes was tiresome at times, but when someone was trying to spin the truth Russert was able to cut through that and show the truth, or at least expose the liar. His everyman style made him always watchable and interesting.

NBC news has skewed to the left lately and seems to be carving out a niche on the left similar to where Foxnews is on the right, and of all their personalities, Russert was the one who I felt had resisted letting that show in his work. Yeah, it didn't take an expert to see where his politics were, but everyone has a bias and his shows were fair. And Fair is high praise in this era. NBC is in huge trouble now. I can't imagine anyone who could step into the Sunday slot and make Meet the Press even a shadow of what it has been in the past.

I'll watch the show this weekend and mourne Tim Russert's loss.

The fourth estate has lost something that cannot be replaced.

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