Friday, June 13, 2008

The Loss of a True "Patriot"

My heart bleeds today for the tragic loss of Tim Russert, moderator of Meet The Press and NBC's Washington Bureau Chief. I feel like someone punched my in the gut forty or fifty times - I respected, admired, was motivated by, and loved this man. For years I have told my students that the day Russert retired we were all massively screwed. I never imagined that we would lose him so prematurely. My sense is that we've lost a real spokesman for ethical, responsible, and objective journalism; a profession that is frequently at odds with those qualities. Tim asked the hard questions and did it with an ease and delicacy that seemed effortless. This civility and professionalism was not effortless however - it required untold hours of "homework" for every single broadcast. It also required something that was almost an uncanny skill for Tim - the ability to recall statistics and facts in a matter of milliseconds AND synthesize this information into MORE than just data. Every damn Sunday, I would tune in because Tim could take all the BULLSHIT from any given week and give you the straight scoop - cut through the drama and mediation of it all - and simply tell you the TRUTH. You never knew his politics, you never knew his own personal rhetoric or propaganda - you only knew that he would tell it like it is... Barbara Walters had mentioned while on the phone with Keith Olberman just after news of Tim's death, that "We" (meaning NBC, The White House, New York) are all in mourning for the loss of our friend, but she said also that the country will be massively hurt by this, that people so admired and loved him that the crater left by his absence will be monumental. She is SO right. So right. I, for one, will mis him in more ways than I can express in words.

Thank you Tim and Rest in Peace. You lived a beautiful life.


Erik said...

Usually "celebrity" deaths don't hit me too hard, but when I saw this this morning on Yahoo, my heart sunk. He was the only network political anchor I have ever watched regularly. And you're right, he could cut through the talking points and ask hard follow up questions with a doggedness and fairness we just don't see anymore. The saddest part is there's really nobody that can get close to taking his place.

Bill Courtney said...

Living in China I really miss Western news media in a real fashion. I can get to stuff, even banned here, on the net, but I really miss my nights of laying back and watching the news. And I really like the "real" guys like Russert. Living in a country where there is basically one political voice and dissent is quickly silenced one learns how they may have taken some day to day liberties for granted. I will miss Tim as well, and I had learned to miss him long ago really. No one should have to watch CCTV for their news.

Chick Young said...

Erik, Bill

Yes, I agree with you both and share your sadness. It's a terrible loss. And I completely agree Bill; the civic duties and responsibilities that are often met with boredom and indifference in this country (by certain people, I'm not speaking of any aggregate group) would be cherished in other parts of the world.

thank for your thoughts gentlemen and welcome back Bill, I'll be visiting the Cafe when I get a moment.

Bill Courtney said...

Thanks for dropping by the Cafe and saying hi. I have been unable to do too much with the site lately but have done a few posts. Just not enough time in the day. Need to check back into some of the sites I usually visit a couple times a week. its been rainy and cold here lately and I am just sluggish in this sort of weather.


gilligan said...

What an incredible loss. Journalists like Russert have become a vanishing breed. Where big name "news" personalities like O'Reilly and Hannity live like Tiberius Caesar, peddle their products like Ron Popiel, and wear their political views on their sleeves, Russert stood in glorious contrast. He was a family man (his book about his father is a touching an thoughtful testimony) and he always treated others with dignity - I hope today's news figures learn from his legacy.

Chick Young said...


Boy, do I like the way you put that. It is a major loss to the horrible political landscape of our media. Thanks for your very eloquent input. Lovin' your blog man!

Chick Young said...


It might be a good idea to port over your posts from an RSS feed. It should contain all of your pics and text. Might be an easy way to save you a lot of work!