Idol Chatter

As someone who begins to look forward to Sunday morning’s “Meet the Press” sometime on Saturday afternoon, I am shocked and dismayed at the news of Tim Russert’s fatal heart attack. TV news is so consistently bad that I rarely watch it, but I also rarely miss an episode of MtP. I’d get a little excited with each opening segment: “Our stories this Sunday…” followed by a rundown of topics undergirded with that triumphant journa-music soundtrack. Silly and overdone, perhaps, but great TV, not least because Russert’s own love of his work was so palpable. He seemed to enjoy regaling his audience with tidbits from political media history just as much as he enjoyed forcing a politician to face his or her public record. There are drawbacks to Russert’s standard take-down approach with his MtP guests, but it was pleasing to see political figures held accountable for things they said and bullied–admittedly, bullied–into either admitting their inconsistencies or spinning foolishly.Russert was also a model of straight-forwardness. In the clip below from a few weeks back, he summarizes the Clinton-Obama situation with a candidness and clarity we almost never see—and he does it without weighing in heavily for one side or another. One feels for Tim Russert’s father, Big Russ, whom Tim lauded in a couple best-selling books that have been perennial Father’s Day favorites in recent years, and will likely be again this Sunday. Rest in peace, Tim. You’ll be missed, and not easily replaced.

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