Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert, RIP

Let me begin by saying I have no doubt that Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press, a well-known and widely-recognized talking head, was a wonderful man. Although he was surely a pundit, I hope that Hillary Clinton would not include him among the pundits and naysayers who accurately recognized she didn't have a snowball's chance of winning the Democratic (if you so choose, you may change the adjective to “Democrat,” as it seems these days it is unacceptable for members of the GOP to imply that Democrats are in any way democratic) nomination for the office of President long before she did. Naysayers—what a wonderful word for a politician to use. It's almost as good as George W. Bush's “evil-doers," and just think what a killer phrase Spiro T. Agnew would have had if his speech writer had thrown in one more word and coined the phrase “nattering naysaying nabobs of negativism.”

Without question, Tim Russert was a smart, courteous guy who loved his family and was widely respected. I am truly sorry he dropped dead of a heart attack yesterday at age 58, and I am sorry for his family's loss.

BUT. . . do we now have to suffer through a prolonged televised wallowing in grief a la the death of Princess Di? Lord love a duck! MSNBC has been going all day on this one topic! Yes, he was a great man! Yes, he was one of their own! A newsman, struck down in the prime of life! Yes! It's all true! But let's move on! As the funeral director says when showing you the most expensive casket, he would have wanted it that way! The last time I tuned into MSNBC, Mike Barnacle, Russert's fellow blue-collar-roots, sports-loving newsman was relating a story of Tim finding out about the fake ID his son had at college! Who cares?

But it will go on, and on, and on, for we live in the twenty-four-hour news cycle. The cable channels are in constant need of material. This is grist for the mill, especially since Barack Obama is currently not affiliated with any wacko preachers. What happened when Chet Huntley died? I think David Brinkley talked briefly about it on the nightly news show the two of them co-anchored for so many years, but there were other things going on in the world, and more importantly, there were only three networks in those days, and there was even such a thing as a sign-off late at night, meaning there were (gasp) no overnight broadcasts, and all you'd see till the next day's programming started was a test pattern.Alas, those days are gone. Let the wallowing continue!

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