Tim Russert, 1950-2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Somedays I would turn on Meet the Press not just because I was interested in who would be on a particular program, but because in an almost inexplicable way, I knew it was what I needed, what I craved in a visceral sense.

More than anything else to me, Tim Russert and his voice, heard in so many different political arenas, represented the unapologetic search for the truth, for balanced dialogue and conversation, and for holding people accountable for what they said, and what they did, versus letting them slip by unnoticed, and under the radar:

On Tim Russert

In an era of celebrity journalists, Tim Russert was at the pinnacle of both halves of that rarified universe. What set him apart was the sheer exuberance he brought to his profession, the incredible energy he poured into everything he did, the amazing knowledge he had of American politics and the insatiable curiosity he had to know more. He could go nowhere without drawing a crowd; he went, not to play to that crowd, but because he knew they could teach him something that he didn't know.
'America's most influential journalist' dies

The man widely viewed as America's most influential political journalist, Tim Russert, the probing host of NBC's Meet the Press, died suddenly yesterday.

Russert, who was 58, suffered a coronary embolism while working at the NBC Washington bureau. The consummate Washington insider, Time magazine had named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Political Journalism Loses A Legend

The death of NBC’s Tim Russert has stunned the journalistic and political worlds. And his loss will reverberate through them - and our political system itself - for a very long time.

In over 15 years as moderator of NBC’s "Meet the Press," Russert grilled candidates, congressional leaders, cabinet members and political activists of all stripes with a style that was respectful and fair but also confrontational. His show became a measuring stick for anyone seeking elevation to higher office, a gauntlet of sorts that had to be run by presidential candidates to prove their chops - the "Russert test."
Politicians, Colleagues Praise Russert as Institution in Journalism

NBC anchor Tim Russert's death Friday stunned and saddened his colleagues and the many politicians and other guests who had appeared on his long-running show "Meet the Press."

Condolences poured out of Washington for his family, as those who knew him praised him as an institution in political journalism.
Appreciation: Tim Russert, 1950-2008

It only adds to the sadness of Russert's death that he passes away in the middle of a suspenseful presidential election, and one that again affirmed his standing as possibly America's most influential political journalist.
Tim Russert’s Turnaround of ‘Meet the Press’

For more than 16 years, Tim Russert served as the moderator of “Meet the Press,” the award-winning Sunday public affairs program on NBC.

The program is, in some ways, the flagship brand of the network’s news division. It is the most popular show of its kind, and also the most influential. And since 1991, its identity has been intertwined with that of Mr. Russert’s, an anchor with a booming voice and a seemingly inexhaustible vault of political knowledge.
Tim Russert and New York Politics

Years before he entered the world of political journalism, in the mid-1980s, he was intimately involved in the New York political world. From 1977 to 1982, he was the first chief of staff to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat elected in 1976. He was instrumental in Mario M. Cuomo’s election as governor of New York, in 1982, and was counselor to the governor in 1983 and 1984.
Overpowering and sudden loss

He was "one of the premier political journalists and analysts of his time," Tom Brokaw, the former longtime anchor of "NBC Nightly News," said in announcing Russert’s death Friday afternoon. Brian Williams, managing editor and anchor of "NBC Nightly News," called his death a "staggering, overpowering and sudden loss."
The Gold Standard: Tim Russert's legacy—in politics and in life

And I tell this story to ask a question: After Russert, the deluge? Not to canonize him, but he operated in a way, and on an assumption, that seems all but lost in modern America: the ability to debate, to argue, with a reverence for the frail humanity of all.
Pre-eminent US journalist Tim Russert dies

He was a relentless interviewer and wielded such clout that when he declared that Barack Obama had wrapped up the Democratic nomination last month, his view was treated as a news story in itself.