Saturday, June 14, 2008

An off-topic question about Tim Russert

can I ask yet whether it's a sign of how fucked we are that the death of a fundamentally mediocre, at best, tv talking head is treated like the death of a head of state?
I'm sorry for his family and friends, especially considering he died unexpectedly at a relatively young age. But Tim Russert succeeded by enabling the powerful with a faux aggressive style where tough questions would be asked precisely so they could be "successfully" dismissed with inanities. Russert's interviews with Dick Cheney are a microcosm of how the MSM enabled the push for the Iraq War, and a failure of colossal proportions.
Russert's death has received vastly undue attention, and points to the flawed, insular nature of the MSM. Tim Russert was someone they all knew and looked up to as a model of success (another telling fact) so his death has to be treated like Princess Di was found alive, then died again. It matters so much to all of them it has to be important. Everyone they know agrees. An industry giant has fallen, and because they are American culture, that means he was a cultural icon.
Sorry, but he wasn't. Face it, most Americans didn't even know who he was. His death was not so momentous as to make everything else that happened that day insignificant.

2 comments:

Clem said...

It could have been worse: it could have happened on a Monday. Dead Russert for a full week!

No matter how many times I patiently, or heatedly, tried to explain to my mother why Timmeh was a blight, she liked his style. I think the decorousness of his approach appealed to her, because his steadfast refusal to call bullshit on obvious lies made her feel like a participant. She could sit in front of the TV and yell "Bullshit!" when he refused to do so. Unfortunately, this dynamic played out in millions of homes and left millions wondering why the pundit class was unwilling to speak truth to power. Russert was a decent entertainer, but a poor journalist. Also, he looked like a baby-eater.

Anonymous said...

This is the most trenchant obituary imaginable. He was the inside man. But he was inside a rotting system. A good man in the service of an ignoble regime.