Russert Over Exposure?
Posted by bmac on June 16, 2008
A friend told me Sunday: “I now know more about Tim Russert than I do many members of my family.”
After Russert’s shocking death Friday at age 58, television kept serving up witnesses to his expertise, intelligence, diligence, kindness, faith, love of family, Buffalo and the Buffalo Bills. The self-indulgence was breathtaking.
On Monday’s “Today,” Matt Lauer interviewed Russert’s son, Luke. The show basically gave over the first half-hour to the Russert story. Presidential candidates aren’t questioned at such length on morning programs.
I saw Luke Russert on Today, and while I was really impressed at what an extraordinary young man he was, I thought it was a bit much.
Is the coverage professional? A lot of the comments about Russert should have been saved for the office. NBC should have approached covering Russert as the network would have any other public figure who had died. Hard to do, yes, but that should have been the goal. Instead, Russert’s colleagues used the airwaves to work through their grief. Some people will excuse that style out of sympathy, but that approach just wasn’t right.
Again, I agree, while Russert was a fine journalist, a lot of other important stuff happened this weekend.
Will journalists ask the tough questions of themselves that they ask of others? Not during grief, evidently. Brokaw hinted that Russert had his critics. Could we have heard from them? Well, no. The coverage seemed designed to put Russert on the fast track to sainthood.
Bam. There’s the upshot here, and in particular, my problem with the style of eulogising that has become the standard these days. This is the same mentality that drives people to put up giant memorials on the sites where people (usually unkown to them personally) have died, which I wrote about here.
Or even the coverage of people like Anna Nicole Smith, or Natalie Holloway.
I think in some way, this over-memorialising is a result of the breakdown of the family. People start to feel like the people on TV are their family. In the lack of support they get at home, they find solace in being devastated at someone else’s loss. It obviously fills some vacuum. In this age of more and more single moms and baby-daddies, people need to feel connected to something, a connection they don’t seem to be getting from their families.
Luke Russert seemed to be dealing with this just fine, probably because he has a strong family connection, and lot’s of support, and it speaks highly of his dad.
We should feel sympathy for Russerts’ family, but really, this is not a national tragedy, and it shouldn’t be covered as such.
Tim Russert seemed like a fine man, and his son is proof of how well he raised him, actually handling this in a much more mature way than most of the press. But I wouldn’t say he was an icon, and I found him to be more biased than anyone else on the right seems to have, and in particular, his regular segments on the Today show were p-r-e-t-t-y biased. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great guy personally, but I think he wore his “Meet The Press/Debate” hat, and he wore his “Today/MSNBC” hat equally. That’s just my opinion.
On a personal note, expect to see pretty light blogging here for awhile. Got a lot going on that needs tending to, that’s a lot more important than ranting on the internet, (as much as i enjoy it) and you know…..priorities. Believe it or not, this crap takes a lot of time to produce, since most of my content is original, and I try to make it as interesting as possible, so a single post sucks up about 2 or 3 hours of my day, as well as posting on DPUD, and checking and commenting on all the Moronblogs, and you can begin to see this is starting to take up too much of my time that could be better spent elsewhere, at least right now.
And you know, this shit doesn’t pay.