Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, RIP

These are the ones that catch you off-guard. I was driving home from lunch when I heard a statement on the radio that Tim Russert, longtime host of Meet the Press, and a familiar face to anyone who's followed election coverage for the past several cycles, had passed away of a heart attack. During his many years as one of the most recognizable faces of NBC News, Russert took equal fire from both right and left accusing him of an "obvious" bias. That indicated, to me anyway, that he was probably doing his job right.

During this past primary season especially, MSNBC had become my network of choice for watching election coverage, and the highlight was usually when hosts Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would cut to Russert for a grounded analysis that sliced through all the spin and hype. Such was his influence in shaping popular perception that many agree the race effectively ended for Hillary Clinton when Russert declared on the night of the Indiana/North Caroline primaries, "We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be, and no one is going to dispute it."

It was clear from watching his reporting how energized he was by this upcoming election, and I'm saddened that we won't be able to see his coverage of it.

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