Russert’s Passing – Will It mean Dropping Any Pretense Of Objectivity?

Was Tim Russert The Last Of A Dying Breed?

I continue to be shocked by Tim Russert's ongoing death, and I didn't even like him either personally or as a journalist. As the latter, he was merely an intermittently objective liberal. As the former, I was dismayed that he didn't speak out when Don Imus was the victim of vile accusations because of a tasteless but insignificant remark. Of course, I don't know what transpired behind the scenes, but Russert and Imus had been friends, and I felt he was one person, perhaps the only one, who could have tempered the rabid herd.

Now that Mr. Russert is gone, most likely forever, I feel compelled to focus on the consequences of his passing, because based on the direction NBC has been going, it seems to me that Tim Russert was the lone remaining impediment. He was the most tactfully biased mainstream media man I knew. He could finesse a liberal perspective better than anyone to the point where his questions sounded absolutely reasonable until you realized that none of them ever came close to being posed from a conservative perspective.

That's what made Russert as great as he was though – he was Baby Bear's porridge, neither too hot or too cold. Conservatives and Republicans could sit down with him and have a reasonable chance of making a point. Can you think of anyone else at NBC, ABC, or CBS, forget about CNN and MSNBC, who could conduct an interview without any blatant bias and where reasonable argument gets a fair hearing? Or even a fair reception?

And now, it's not even whether Russert may have been one of a kind, it's about who would be willing, much less able, to find a replacement even close to Russert's caliber? Chris Wallace is similar in his approach, and he conceals his liberalism well enough, but he'd be miserably weak if past performance is an indication of future results. And from my admittedly limited perspective, there's no one else besides Wallace who can assume the mantle of liberally slanted impartiality.

Admit it, you wouldn't be surprised one bit if another Chris – Matthews were to become the new head of Meet The Press. And you wouldn't be even too surprised if the position were offered to Keith Olberman. It wouldn't be the first time that a smaller company took over a bigger one, but it would be the first time that, by implication, NBC management had tacitly, finally, declared that standards were now completely out the window – who needs standards anyway when you have control?

If you're wondering what I mean by that since seemingly nothing has really changed in MSMland, it's that Tim Russert may have been the one man standing between any semblance of objectivity and full-blown bias, and even if he wasn't, no one else has either his capabilities or discipline. Of course, it could be a good thing in the long run if the pretense of objectivity is eliminated from the network mix, but even if it is, the short run could be far more disgusting than things have been up to now, and I think that's really saying something.

Apart from  that, Tim Russert's untimely death is a reminder that you don't have to be old to die suddenly, and that neither wealth nor standing can substitute for bad luck. I really don't know why I feel so badly about Tim Russert other than from the perspective that he died while Kennedy lives on, and I simply can't get over the idea that Russert's passing may be an omen for November and beyond…

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About tedwest

A longtime veteran of comedy and political forums, I decided that I needed a more restful venue because... well... I finally hate everybody. Except my wife that is... and my ex-wife.. and... no, that's about it. I lead about as simple a life as one can, preferring activities that include anything that doesn't involve going out and seeing YOU! And I particularly enjoy what I call "Get the Bitch" movies on Lifetime. You know the ones where the intended victim finally does something so incredibly stupid that she forfeits her right to live, and from that moment on you're rooting for the stalker. Of course, it rarely works out the way you want, but when it does, the feeling you get is... well, there's nothing else like it, other than, maybe, eating chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and I'm proudly anti-wildlife, both foreign and domestic, and anti-environment - especially foreign environments. I think Howard Stern put it best when he said, "If fifty percent of the population died tomorrow, I can live with that." And I feel the same about the other fifty percent, so together, we've pretty much got it all covered.
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12 Responses to Russert’s Passing – Will It mean Dropping Any Pretense Of Objectivity?

  1. Outside of his politics, Tim Russert really was a great guy. From a Toastmaster's perspective where evaluations are on the presentation rather then the viewpoint Russert was a master that we all can learn from. Regrettably I didn't get a Dad like Tim Russert. I would like to see someone like Dr. Thomas Sowell replace him on Meet the Press, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

  2. TedWest says:

    Zak,
    The problem is, there is no consideration "outside of politics." I don't want to know someone because he's a nice guy. I want to know him because he has a good mind. That excludes all liberals and most conservatives.

  3. Except for 20/20's John Stossel, I think that most major news organizations are incapable of fielding journalists/ commentators that see through the scams and frame issues in the individualist perspective. We have Dan Rather and Keith Olberman at the bottom of the barrel and John Stossel and Tim Russert at the top. While I might be more aggressive in questioning politicians if I were to host Meet the Press. When I really want to get depressed I watch "The Fascist Nation" with Bob Schieffer.

  4. TedWest says:

    Stossel would be a good choice, but even if he were available, he'd get no consideration whatsoever. He's actually the best choice. Or Mark Steyn!?

  5. Perhaps Mark Steyn and Ann Coulter could co-host?! Stossel would be my choice or Dr. Thomas Sowell.

  6. TedWest says:

    The thing is, there would be no shortage of rational voices and probing questions if the choice were someone on the right. Somebody suggested Limbaugh, and he might be great at it since his show is heavily preparation oriented already. But of course, the challenge for NBC will be to find someone who appears to think as opposed to someone who actually does. To that end, Matthews can, on rare occasions, have rational moments, however fleeting they may be, and the same goes for a few other loony lefties, but only the increasingly dead Russert appeared sane all of the time, and actually was nearly a majority of the time.
    And I have to say that as much as I love Ann, she had pioneered the concept of "truth by inflammation," and liberals already froth too much for their own good.

  7. Someone like Sowell or Stossel would not allow any nonsensical responses from guests and unlike Sean Hannity can get beyond talking points.

  8. TedWest says:

    Zak,
    I hate to have to snap you back to reality, but Stossel isn't going to receive a second's worth of consideration, and Sowell is about seventy-five and far too much of an "Uncle Tom" for NBC anyway.
    Brit Hume would be great. He's the thinking man's Tim Russert.
    But now it is I who's fantasizing.

  9. LOL I was just giving an example and dreaming the impossible dream. 😉

  10. TedWest says:

    Yes, and meanwhile, we can't even get windmills built!?

  11. Jeff D says:

    I actually think Stossel would do a good job, but he might have too much of a sarcastic streak. Though I agree with Ted, he'll never get the nod after airing pieces ripping American public schools among other things.

  12. It's the management- look at Keith Olberman what a bombastic asshole.

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