Saturday, June 14, 2008

Timothy J. Russert, Jr. (1950 - 2008), R.I.P.

When one reflects on the liberal media establishment and its bias, the late Tim Russert was one who could be skipped over in the laundry list of liberals and elitists.

A devout Roman Catholic and honest newsman from Buffalo, New York, Mr. Russert was a loyal, but fair liberal. When the knock-offs in both the network media and cable news channels brow-beat candidates or surrogates of one party, they tend to lob softballs to the other. This was a practice lost on Tim Russert. My 2008 candidate of choice, Dr. Ron Paul, faced tough questions on "Meet the Press" when old quotations of his were dug up. The treatment was the same for Vice President Cheney, Senator Kerry, and Senator Clinton. He was a rare Mainstream Media man who could turn off his partisan switch in exchange for an honest and probing interview.

Known for his famous white dry-erase board on election nights, Mr. Russert also began writing on topics that excluded his journalistic endeavours. In 2004 he came out with a splendid autobiography, "Big Russ and Me," a tribute to his still-living father and the environment in which the younger Russert grew up. He was reared with a knowledge of God and the importance of the family, a value instilled in him from Big Russ and one that he passed down himself. Far from the image of a standard liberal, Tim Russert had great reverence for the importance and cohesion of the family.

The lighter side of Tim Russert appeared before the Buffalo Bills played in the fourth and final of their consecutive Super Bowl appearances in January 1994 against the Dallas Cowboys. Before the game, he made a plea (or perhaps a prayer!) on television to God for the Bills to be delivered at least one Super Bowl victory after enduring heartbreak for three straight years. When the Cowboys prevailed over Mr. Russert's hometown team, it was reported that Tom Brokaw approached him and said, "Sorry, God must be a Southern Baptist."

Mr. Russert leaves his wife Maureen and son Luke. Prayers are extended to his family for strength and perseverance in this difficult time. In the words of Thomas Jefferson when he was nominated to replace Benjamin Franklin as American minister to France, "I cannot replace Mr. Franklin. I can only succeed him." Likewise, no one can simply replace Tim Russert, a man of great eloquence and good humor.

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