This is just another “piling on” sort of post containing subject matter that has been covered pretty well in other quarters, but considering the subject is Tim Russert of NBC’s “Meet The Press” (a show title that grows more ironic and ridiculous with each passing day, considering some of the legitimate journos who used to host it), I absolutely have to chime in.
So, according to The Huffington Post, Russert is going to host a panel discussion in media ethics? This is hilarious for at least two reasons:
- His recent line of questioning towards Sen. Barack Obama about Harry Belafonte’s criticism of Dubya, even though Belafonte was not acting in any official capacity on behalf of Obama, which leads to one inescapable conclusion about Russert’s questioning (a “black and white” matter, if you will..I mentioned it yesterday)Also, Marty Kaplan of HuffPo brings us this interesting journalistic adventure from Russert. This is part of an ever-expanding chronicle of Russert’s shameless antics that are being dutifully recorded here and elsewhere (including Fire Dog Lake).
- Now, Russert has apparently fired back at Arianna Huffington for her persistent blogging regarding Russert and his fawning performance towards Republicans and antagonism towards Democrats on the show. He has resurrected the feeble rumor that Huffington spied on Russert’s wife in 1996, which Arianna soundly refuted numerous times, including once to Russert’s face at the 1996 Democratic convention in San Diego.
So, considering all of this, I would suppose that Ripon College, located 80 miles northwest of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (the institution favoring Russert in this spectacularly inappropriate way), will be offering these conferences soon as well:
- “Full SEC Disclosure By Elected Representatives of the U.S. Government” (B. Frist)Something else I wondered about was how the reality of Russert’s shilling and gamesmanship jives (if it does) with his status as a best-selling author. To get a flavor of his work “Big Russ And Me” for some background, I reviewed the introduction to the book and made the following comments:
- Overview of Sarbanes-Oxley Securities Law Reform and Recommended Practices” (D. Kozlowski)
- “Mediation and Conciliation Strategies In International Relations” (M. Ahmadinejad)
- “When You Both Win: Achieving Marital Fulfillment By Denial Of Gratification In Favor Of Your Spouse” (K. Federline)
Over the last two decades, Tim Russert has become one of the most trusted and admired figures in American television journalism. Throughout his career he has spent time with presidents and popes, world leaders and newsmakers, celebrities and sports heroes, but one person stands out from the rest in terms of his strength of character, modest grace, and simple decency—Russert’s dad, Big Russ.He has also apparently spent time with Scooter Libby and possibly Karl Rove that he has been, thus far, unwilling to discuss, even though he seems to have been given permission to do so by his sources.
In this warm, engaging memoir, Russert casts a fond look back to the 1950s Buffalo neighborhood of his youth. In the close-knit Irish-Catholic community where he grew up, doors were left unlocked at night; backyard ponds became makeshift ice hockey rinks in winter; and streets were commandeered as touch football fields in the fall. And he recalls the extraordinary example of his father, a WWII veteran who worked two jobs without complaint for thirty years and taught his children to appreciate the values of self-discipline, of respect, of loyalty to friends.Thanks to our submerging economy under Dubya, A LOT of people have to work at least two jobs now, so with all due respect to “Big Russ,” that doesn’t sound like such a big deal right now.
Also, I’ve long since grown tired of all of this “faux revisionism” concerning the 1950s. Roe v. Wade was still years away, so lots of unsafe abortions were getting hushed up, our government was keeping us as crazed over the possibility of nuclear war as they are now over a terrorist attack, and the Eisenhower administration was granting the CIA free reign to carry out covert operations all over the world with dire long-term implications (e.g., Vietnam, Indonesia, Jordan, Iran, Nicaragua and Guatemala - food for thought on that here). Let’s give our thanks to “The Greatest Generation” now and always, but all I ask is that we interject a bit of reality into the discussion also.
Big Russ and Me, written in Russert’s easygoing, straight-talking style, offers an irresistible collection of personal memories. Russert recalls the dedicated teachers who stimulated his imagination and intellect, sparking a lifelong passion for politics and journalism, and inspired a career that took him from editor of his elementary school newspaper to moderator of Meet the Press.It has also taken him to a career as a bought-and-paid-for shill echoing GOP talking points and maintaining the media story lines that were delineated so brilliantly by Peter Daou recently (see the “Read Why We Fight” link in the upper right column).
It has been an eventful and deeply satisfying journey, but no matter where his career has taken him, Russert’s fundamental values still spring from that small house on Woodside Avenue and the special bond he shares with his father—a bond he enjoys now with his own son. As Tim Russert celebrates the indelible connection between fathers and sons, readers everywhere will laugh, cry, and identify with the lessons of life taught by the indomitable Big Russ.I know nothing about Russert’s father, so out of respect, I’ll hold off on the snark for now.
As long as I’m posting about what you could call the “Friday Fourth Estate Follies,” by the way, I’d like to award Dishonorable Mentions to Richard Cohen for suggesting the answer for the Democrats (again, in keeping with the “script” Peter Daou mentioned, the Dems are always “weak and ineffectual” or something) is John Wayne, since he and the Democrats are both dead, and Ellen Goodman, a writer I usually admire, for engaging in a bout of hand-wringing over the Alito hearings in a column that did nothing but, once again, advance Daou’s story lines.