It’s odd when someone like Tim Russert dies. You don’t know him at all, have never met him, but you still feel like you’ve kind of lost somebody because you’ve seen him on television so often. He seemed like a likeable guy that you’d want to hang out with. He paid enormous public tribute to his father. And he was a huge sports fan, so he had that going for him. He obviously loved his job, and he did it well. You could see that reflected in his funeral, which brought people together that normally wouldn’t have much in common. Both presidential candidates were there, seated side by side. Bill Clinton and Condoleeza Rice sat next to each other. Bruce Springsteen gave an acoustic performance at the end.
Good article in the Wall Street Journal on his death and how he worked as a journalist. He was known for being tough but fair, and he actually took on the topic of media bias. One quote from the end that stands out in today’s “even the terrorists have rights so we have to treat them like American citizens and give them cushy mattresses and cable TV” atmosphere:
We ended our conversation that day with an exchange about the criticism he took from some on the political left for wearing a red, white and blue ribbon on his lapel when he interviewed Vice President Dick Cheney on Sept. 16, 2001. He told me a good friend of his died at the World Trade Center on 9/11, and that the friend’s family had asked if he would wear the ribbon, “and I never thought for a second about it.” …
“But what about those who say journalists shouldn’t wear red, white and blue ribbons, that by doing that somehow you’re taking the government’s side in some debate or another,” I asked him.
“It is imperative,” he told me, “that we never suggest that there’s a moral equivalency between the United States of America and the terrorists. Period. I’ll believe that until the day I die.”
Here’s a funny promo video for Boston College basketball that featured Russert, his son Luke (who went to BC) and some BC players: