When the news popped up on television last night that Tim Russert had suddenly died of a heart attack, I gasped in shock.
As I watched the NBC nightly news pay tribute to Russert for an entire 30 minutes, the tears came. It seems crazy that I would be mourning a man I didn’t know. Yet, at the same time, I felt like I did know him.
In the last few years of my life, I’ve become somewhat of a political junkie, vehemently debating the upcoming political election process and analyzing the candidates’ records and views. Russert was the one political commentator, the only one in this partisan world of political coverage, that I felt was genuinely fair. He asked the tough questions, without appearing boorish. He stated his ideas simply, eluding the ubiquitous spin of today’s media.
For those of you who don’t follow politics, (I know you read this blog for TV news and scoop, not politics) Russert was the host of the Sunday morning show Meet the Press and a longtime political news commentator. He was NBC’s Washington bureau chief. But most of all, he was a trusted news source, a rarity in these days.
I can’t imagine the upcoming Presidential election coverage without Russert. Who will ask the tough questions, explain the complexity of the convention super delegate process, and offer real insight into the candidates’ goals and agendas? Without Russert to captain the political ship of the ’08 election, I fear the murky waters will become a stormy sea full of misinformation and confusion.
One thing is for certain, Russert will be missed. Godspeed, Tim. You were a true inspiration and example to all, even those of us who never knew you.