Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert Was Reminiscent of Murrow

There are not too many hard news interviewers that could get to the heart of the matter quite like Tim Russert did. Russert was one of a handful of journalists left that was in the mold of Edward J. Murrow. You can barely count them on one hand now.

Russert, the longest running host on the longest running news program, Meet the Press, died suddenly on Friday of a heart attack. He was only 58.

On a show that has included some great journalists in it's 61 year history including Martha Rountree, Ned Brooks, Lawrence Spivak, Bill Monroe, and Garrick Utley, Tim Russert was simply the best. His style of interview was not for the faint of heart. He did not throw softballs. Some politicians were reportedly reluctant to be on Meet the Press With Tim Russert because they were afraid of his tenacious grilling. But others felt if they could get through the interview, it would make them look better in the American Public's eye.

I remember vividly an interview last year with former President Bill Clinton. Russert asked the tough questions but Clinton went toe to toe with him even getting a little perturbed with the moderator at times. Despite the fact that he was the ex-President, Russert didn't give in either. That interview, as many in his career on Sunday mornings was a classic and eptiomized the strength of Russert as an interviewer.

And with Father's Day tommorow I am also grateful for Russert's two books on Family and Fatherhood. They are must reads. Tim Russert will be extremely missed. Sunday mornings will never be the same.

Check local listings for the time when Meet The Press on NBC is on in your area. You can also link to the audio at 9 AM PST every Sunday through Bosco Radio News and Information powered by C-Span Radio. The link is in our sidebar.

1 comment:

Doug Vehle said...

Oh, unfair to Russert to put Murrow in his league. Murrow was a sideshow, what he lacked in skill he made up for with audacity. We wouldn't know who Murrow was if the better reporters of his era had been as bold as he.

It was Russert's misfortune to come along at a time when the new horizons were small. Murrow with ground breaking radiocast's which hadn't been much considered before, Walter Cronkite making TV news work, Russert didn't have a memorable challenge to confront him. Rather he had to prevent the erosion of his position by cable news, the internet, etc. And that he did well.

So I'd say possibly the greatest broadcast journalist ever did it all in near obscurity. The REAL reporting wasn't theatrical and homogenized enough for most people, so the great work had to be done in off hours. A shame, but I'm sure he had no complaints.