Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Death Watch: Tim Russert

Admittedly I'm a little late to this game, but I had spent the hours and days after Tim Russert death confused, as I watched the newsman celebrated like no American since the passing of Ronald Reagan.

While I have no doubt Russert was a first class guy, a terrific journalist, and could have made a living doing Daniel Patrick Moynihan impersonations if the Meet The Press thing hadn't worked out, there were times during the coverage of Russert's sad and untimely demise that, because I have a tendency to sleep late on Sundays, I felt like a foreigner in my own country.

By Monday there was a bit of sheepish pulling back from the canonization, and the media admitted they may have gone too far and overstated the importance of one of their own.

Which is fairly understandable, if that is the case. Russert practically died right in front of his colleagues, and if their desire to emote and pay tribute to someone they loved and respected trumped their news (and better) judgment for a day or so, it's only human.

Furthermore, there is now this rapidly expanding web/TV/traditional media colossus of political coverage that needs to be feed story lines constantly. With the presidential race in what should be an extended slow period, a lot of hungry reporters, bloggers, pundits and producers stand ready to pounce on anything that feels like news.

So Russert -- who truly was a giant in that world -- gave the bloated political coverage machine a much needed big story.

But it's more than that. It's the bloated media as a whole. Heath Ledger's death also seemed overdone. And Anna Nicole Smith . . .

Deaths are big deals. Especially when they come young and as a surprise. While I'm fairly certain that by next week Russert's death won't be seen as the historic event the media made it out to be, I can't say their coverage was out of line since I don't know how they would have reacted to Kurt Cobain's death. Or John Lennon's. Or -- can you even imagine -- JFK 's.

For all we know, in this current media reality, Russert got the send off he deserved.


Ty Huls said...

I am very sad to know about the death of TIM RUSSERT. I dont know him but I am sad because of his so early death and nobody of us can go against the wish of GOD.

Anonymous said...

Yes, God smote him as revenge for never being invited join a roundtable on MTP.