Sunday, June 15, 2008

Remembering Russert

[written friday 13 june, when Russert died]

Tim Russert was only 2 years older than me. Very sobering loss.

I am watching MSNBC, Brokaw, Olbermann, and others deal with the loss of someone who is like family to them. The day will come when our own organization will face losses of this kind, and I hope those on the other side of the political spectrum will be able to acknowledge our common humanity.

Thinking ahead to our Sunday Talking Heads there will be people commenting on Russert however we handle the post, we'll need to be prepared once again for some rough comments. It won't be a typical Sunday morning, the only thing we can hope is that the angriest folks will be sleeping in and not here to dance on the grave. I was really shocked by some of this stuff today. Are we not all human beings? Do we not all face the same foe at the end?

Of course we found his reluctance to do followup questions in the piercing way that our FDL prosecutors would exasperating, but now I am trying to look at his situation from a different perspective. What would it be like if some of the media including him KNEW what was going on and it was so big and ugly that if they got too far out of line they would just be fired? I personally know one individual on national television who is not a koolaid drinker who has had to be very very careful in what she/he does on the air. Maybe some of them are doing what they can, in the way that some people in Congress that I know are taking the steps they can. I liken it to having a garden hose to put out a forest fire. There is a very big concentration of power that does not take well to being challenged. Russert might have seen this -- I had not realized he was Daniel Patrick Moynihan's aide -- and tried to push things as best he could. It would not be our way, but then, we aren't in his shoes.

I wouldn't put this on thread because I have been scolded for being too inside and too quick to defend people that "should" speak out. I'm saying, maybe there are people who are giving it their best, and likely he was one of them. Condolences to Russert's famiy and friends and colleagues at msnbc.

photo from ericbargeron


Prairie Sunshine said...

Thank you for these thoughtful words, eg. Too often, watching, it's frustrating to see an interview conducted a certain way when one thinks it should be done another way. And many of us have been highly critical of all the media people at various times for what we see as their shortcomings.

But in fairness, that's too easy. We must all, always, remember that we cannot understand a person 'til we walk a mile in his moccasins.

egregious said...

Thanks Prairie,

To my surprise I realized part of my grief was not just for the man, the father, the husband, the son, but for a colleague, someone who is in my profession. It means my own sense of profession has evolved to include being a journalist, however insignificant.

Prairie Sunshine said...

We shall need to coin a new word for the blog journalist.

Or maybe just journalist will do, since so many oldstream media types don't do quaint ol' journalism any more....

Mary McCurnin said...

It is lovely to witness the tenderness in your heart. I have had feelings of affection for Mr. Russert for the first time. I wondered what I had missed due to my own single minded blindness. Thanks e.