Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Tim Russert and the olé school of journalism

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Originally published on on Fri, 06/20/2008 – 2:36pm

Tim Russert has been buried with a beautiful memorial service. The worlds of politics, journalism, and television have had a whirlwind in the last 7 days. What Russert’s untimely death means to the 2008 race depends on which world you live in, and how it may affect you.

NBC has clearly thought naming a permanent replacement or a temporary replacement wasn’t appropriate at this time and place. Brian Williams gets the first nod in the new chair (Tim Russert’s son, Luke, said he now has his father’s old chair), interviewing Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the guests Russert prepared for 7 days ago before he collapsed and died.

Russert has been seen as a proud beacon of journalism (from a lot of his fellow colleagues) and a reasonably nice cog, but still a cog in the MSM machine where we sort of ask tough questions, but not really getting much from the experience (many but not all BuzzFlash readers).

But I think I finally figured out where the difference comes into those two perceptions. From

Asked about the failure to more aggressively challenge the White House on Iraq, Russert once explained (3/21/06): “Well, you know, there’s really no alternative. There are a lot of people on the far right or the far left who want someone in my situation to yell and scream or lean over and choke somebody or slap them around and a lot of histrionics, but you really don’t achieve anything because you make your guest immediately sympathetic, and I much prefer just to try to steady as you go, draw people out.”

MSM journalism feels like bullfighting, or at least, what I perceive bullfighting to be. The bullfighter stands there with a red cape while the bull charges through, and the crowd cheers. Repeat.

This is what a lot of mainstream journalism feels like. The person speaks, let them go by without a thought, and then ask the next question. It’s the olé school of journalism.

Real bullfighting is likely more machismo, which means in the world of MSM, what Russert did seems more courageous. But to the rest of us, Russert certainly was better than many “TV pundits” but still not at the level we need from worlds of politics, journalism, and television.


Written by democracysoup

June 20, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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