Friday, June 13, 2008
OT: Good Riddance, Tim Russert
Update 6/14: From Bill Moyers:
TIM RUSSERT: Look, I'm a blue-collar guy from Buffalo. I know who my sources are. I work 'em very hard. It's the mid-level people that tell you the truth.Hey, didja hear that? Fact checking is apparently somebody else's job. Not his.
BILL MOYERS: They're the ones who know the story?
TIM RUSSERT: Well, they're working on the problem. And they understand the detail much better than a lotta the so-called policy makers and political officials.
BILL MOYERS: But they don't get on the Sunday talk shows.
TIM RUSSERT: No. I mean, they don't want to be, trust me. I mean, they can lose their jobs, and they know it. But they can provide information which can help in me challenging or trying to draw out sometimes their bosses and other public officials.
BILL MOYERS: What do you make of the fact that of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news, from September 2002 until February 2003, almost all the stories could be traced back to sources from the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department?
TIM RUSSERT: It's important that you have an opposition party. That's our system of government.
BILL MOYERS: So, it's not news unless there's somebody…
TIM RUSSERT: No, no, no. I didn't say that. But it's important to have an opposition party, your opposing views.
What infuriates me is that I remember exactly what Moyers was talking about in the leadup to this war. Not a single thing was said that didn't come back to some administration source, often unnamed, that went unchallenged, and that just as frequently melted when exposed to daylight. But men like Russert refused to do their jobs. Other men died for that cowardice. And for that, I simply have no respect.
Can we assume you'll treat the death of every journalist of the past decade with such graciousness and good temper? If Russert, who has always been an incisive interviewer who challenged all comers (and as a result was respect by all sides) draws such scorn, I hope not to be in the place of one of the lesser lights of punditry.
I think it's telling that bloggers of all side of the political spectrum, from diarists at DailyKos to Michelle Malkin all noted the passing of Tim Russert with sadness. The only people I've seen with a reaction similar to yours are the Hillary Clinton dead-enders who see Russert as part of the media machine that persecuted their candidate. These same people openly wish harm on Senator Obama. Do you really want to be lumped in with them?
And Chronicler is right. Yes, Russert could have done a better job keeping the Bush Administration honest before the beginning of the war. But you could say that about the entire profession of journalism in this country. Hell, I think we are all equally guilty of allowing such a fallacious war to be waged in our name. Iraq is and was a national failure, not of one man.
I would guess that you and I are of the same political stripe. Though I am liberal, I would never wish harm on anyone in public life, no matter how much I disagree with them. I wouldn't even wish that on President Bush, a man I hold incredible contempt for and believe will be judged by history as our worst president.
I visit your blog often, along with Halos Heaven, to keep up with the Angels, and I'll continue to despite this. But I ask in the most constructive way possible, "Have you no shame, sir?"
Tim Russert was not perfect, but he was definitely not a Fox News crony.
It's neither unacceptable nor in particularly good taste, but protesting by not reading a blog isn't really protesting at all.
Grow some thicker skin, folks.
Who takes pleasure in the death of another human being?
Taking pleasure in it? Huh. I find him despicable. I would even say the world would be a better place without him if it weren't for the fact that so many others with his lazy, contemptible attitude were around to take his place. I can't get over the dead he had a hand in creating, the lives snuffed out on a war championed by some of the most venal, corrupt politicians of this or any other generation. Russert's thoughtless treatment of the consequences of the war he helped start upon their lives was more than a little callous. The bodies stack up like cordwood.
I am fine with people hating the war and those who got the US into it, however blaming it on a guy who has consistently moderated fervent debate on both sides of the American Political spectrum is idiotic. Similarly, saying Good Riddance to a giant who is in my opinion the best in his field is classless.
I too, will not be coming back. Later douche.
1) You have yet to provide anything more than your mere assertion that Tim Russert was any more complicit in "causing" the Iraq War than any other journalist or any other person, really. Got evidence?
2) The Bill Moyers interview you posted doesn't really support the claim you're making. All he's saying is that it's important to take note of opposing views. If most stories come from sources within the Administration, how do you expect him to fact check? It's not like there are secret Democrats working in the Bush White House.
I'm noticing a pattern here--that you tend to blow what evidence you have out of proportion in order to support your claim. It's like you're looking of some small shred of proof--no matter how thin--to prove your preconceived notions.
I agree with you on one point. The media was clearly a lapdog for the White House. They absolutely could have done more. But there's a lot of other groups or people out there that could have done more as well. Will it be "Good Riddance" when they pass on too?
The Moyers transcript is sort of ambiguous. Russert didn't really do a great job answering the question. I can see why you're saying what you're saying, but there can be other meanings too.
By the way, saying "Good Riddance, Tim Russert", does imply to some people that you took pleasure in his death.
My two cents:
Rob's right. Tim Russert failed miserably in covering this horrifically bad administration. Russert was at least obtuse about Iraq, Scooter Libby and other issues. His performance at the Democratic debate was awful. The NYT article states what was true--Cheney felt MTP was safe ground, much like Fox News. The Moyers interview should point out to people that Russert had little to no understanding of the responsibilities of a journalist.
I'm sorry, but I have to laugh at Russert's defenders. Please, people. The man had the largest microphone in the business and did nothing with it. People who were and are against this administration have been right for 7 years now and if you still support Bush and you still think Iraq was a great idea, then I assume most of you are living in a place where the color of the sky is different from my world. You know, the real world I live in. So Rob is right.
You don't say "good riddance." You just don't. Not about a loving father, husband and friend. Russert may have been corrupted by power, ego or negligence but he was the corrupted, not the corrupt. We can say he failed as journalist and mourn the man. It's possible Russert, like so many of us, went a little crazy after 9/11 and the core beliefs of what it meant to be an American--freedom, liberty and established rights--all took a backseat to staying safe. Whatever the explanation, Russert's faults as a professional are and should be overcome by his qualities as a human being. The two are not intertwined unless he's willfully causing harm to others and I'm not buying that part of the argument, Rob.
Put another way--I'm not a very good teacher. I'm okay, but not great. If I died, some of my students wouldn't be sorry, others would be deeply saddened. I got to live with that until I get better at my gig. Russert might've gotten there. Unlike so many in the administration, he was at least human.
Last point and perhaps most important--people are saying they're going to stop reading Rob's blog to which I reply: get thee to an echo chamber and pronto. You'll be happier there. I agree and disagree with Rob on a weekly basis, if not a daily basis. May it always be thus for as long as he keeps this blog and may that be for a very long time.
Rob seems to make one big gaffe a year. this one is it: Bad taste Rob, but i'm looking forward now to a summer free of the blog wars with our fellow Halo bloggers. Some of Rob's OT stuff is OK, some isn't - but regardless, i'm just here to read about baseball and will continue to do so daily.
I've read some comments across a variety of forums about Russert and know one came close to this invective, not even the ones anit-war and lefter than left. Everything else i saw was gracious.
Bruce Springsteen wrote a bad record? huh? that's a good segue to lead into my next point. though i don't agree with a lot of Sprinsteen's politics, he's still my favorite artist, and i'd gladly fork out hundreds to hear him perform - i just have learned to filter out where i don't agree with him, so any one refusing to come back here to 6-4-2? its your loss. After all, you're coming here to read about baseball, not Rob's politics and Rob continues to do a very fine job at the game. I'd say the same exact thng about Mr. Welch (and HH) - Matt's a well-known antagonist of Sen. McCain but the Senator will get my vote (admittedly, somewhat lukewarmly), but i don't visit Welch's site for his political views - just what he writes about Angels baseball.
It's Rob's blog - he can express want he wants to write about. I've seen him grow as a journalist and also he sometimes admits his mistakes and grows from them. Hopefully, we all do.
Express your objection for this mistake and cut him some slack (that's what i'd hope from others when i blow it).
and if you don't come back for the baseball, it's your loss.
well, i voted for Bush/Cheney. Millions did. I guess i'm in that camp too.
Here, Rob didn't suck cholesterol man's ass nor succumb to the "decorum" trap, and you preppie, ball-less ninnies want to roast him for threatening the manicure of your dying culture's lawn. The suburban white majority will not allow their mouthpiece to be remembered as anything but a saint when Russert's Forrest Gump impersonation was a textbook example of complicity.
The executioner's face is always well-hidden. This time it was behind the aw-shucks grin of an insider posing as the guy behind you in line at Krispy Kreme.
All you bloggers whom think Russert's having a personal life with any redeeming quality offsets his obvious knowing perpetuation of blatant propaganda and outright lies to support the ultra wealthy, whom he supported with a vicious guard dog like dedication, are off the mark. Most likely some if not all the bloggers taking a reasoned stand defending any aspect of Russert are most likely Republican infiltrators or Fox news foot solders! I used a search engine to find any dissention about the slobbering cascade of tongue in cheek blather praising Russert for such a commendable career.
I have watched this guy for years and thought what a disservice to the public he has been... Yet he is just one of an army of talking heads that firmly hold positions of disinformation and are there for appearance only. He was just a well paid lackey nothing more nothing less. And his passing will only usher in another lap dog to take his place. It reminds me of all the hype and revisionist history in regaling Regan when he passed. As if he wasn't one of the most detrimental Presidents to ever puppet office for the ultra wealthy and there campaign to wipe out the all so dangerous well informed middle class..! Albeit the complacent well fed asleep at the wheel middle class to put a fine point on it..!
Ben Franklin said " It's only a democracy if you can keep it"
Russert was bad for a million reasons and sensitivity's aside his passing is but a note of a traitor amongst us. He was way to smart and informed to not know better. I suppose truthfully he could only have made a little noise at any given moment with his big microphone and they would have axed him anyway.!!!
Yet call it what it is and he whom he was! Bad very bad Joseph Goebbels bad! No excuses! And to bloggers with your discrete point of view and hubla of graciousness, decency and good taste tell it to the Jews of the 30's. Fool s one and all............
I can’t-I’ll leave it right where it’s at. I don’t want to go beyond that. I’ve tried to be cautious and restrained in my comments, and I hope that everybody will recognize that.
Wow, no follow-up on the single biggest selling point of the war, huh, Tim?
Somebody on the BTF thread regarding this topic said it perfectly: you wanted to be on "Meet the Press" when you wanted to appear to have been thoroughly grilled without the inconvenience of actually having been so.
Here are a series of consecutive questions from Russert:
Mr. RUSSERT: One year ago when you were on MEET THE PRESS just five days after September 11, I asked you a specific question about Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Let’s watch:
(Videotape, September 16, 2001):
Mr. RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No.
Mr. RUSSERT: Has anything changed, in your mind?
Mr. RUSSERT: What does the CIA say about that and the president?
Mr. RUSSERT: Anything else?
Mr. RUSSERT: But no direct link?
So you pick Cheney's response to the last of four questions as the starting point of the conversation, and then blame Russert for not following up on his third follow-up. Okay.
On YouTube via Glenn Greenwald:
It may be tricky to say this, and I'll say it, when we went to war with Iraq, [Tim] and I had a little discussion about that, and this is where Tim is Everyman, he is Us as a country. I said: "How can you believe this war is justified?" And he said: "The nuclear thing. If they have a bomb that they can use, we gotta deal with it. We can't walk away from that."
And that, to me, was the essence of what was wrong with the whole case for the war. They knew that argument would sell with Mr. America, with The Regular Guy, with the True American Patriot. They knew the argument that would sell, that would get us into that war. Tim was right on the nail. He was Us, the American People. . . . That was the thing that sold America, and the guys who wanted the War used that one thing that would sell the Patriot in Tim Russert.
Like I said, they knew a patsy when they saw one.