Breaking News: Tim Russert host of “Meet the Press” dead at 58

Friday, June 13, 2008
Fox News

WASHINGTON —  Tim Russert was big wherever he went — in politics, in television, in writing — and even in a suit.

Russert, the hard-hitting but big-hearted moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” died at work Friday at age 58 of a reported heart attack.

Russert, who also was in charge of NBC News’ Washington bureau, is survived by his wife, Maureen Orth., and his son, Luke.

A noticeably shaken Tom Brokaw made the announcement live from New York on the NBC network, saying his colleague collapsed and died early Friday afternoon in the network’s bureau in Washington.

Brokaw said Russert had just returned from a trip to Italy with his wife and son to celebrate his son’s graduation from Boston College. They reportedly were still in Italy at the time of his death.

“He has been a very familiar face on this network and throughout the world of political journalism as one of the premiere political analysts and journalists of his time,” Brokaw said.

Russert was also known for his large stature, his love of his family, and his affinity for his home town, Buffalo — and it’s NFL franchise, the Bills. Brokaw said Russert had just visited Buffalo last week to assist in moving his father to a new home. Russert’s father, known as Big Russ, was the subject of one of Russert’s best-selling books.

“I think I can invoke personal privilege to say that this news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice. He’ll be missed as he was loved — greatly,” Brokaw said.

Russert had hosted “Meet the Press” since 1991, taking the seat from Garrick Utley. Russert also authored two best-sellers, including “Big Russ and Me,” which focused on the relationship with his father, and the “Wisdom of Our Fathers.”

Russert honed his hard-hitting interviewing style over the years, and became a make-or-break appearance for any major American politician, as well as must-see television for political observers, in and outside government.

He regularly interviewed the biggest names in domestic and international politics. He also moderated presidential debates, including at least three during the 2008 presidential campaign cycle. He was scheduled to host Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for the upcoming Sunday show.

Click here to read more national reaction on Tim Russert’s death.

“Meet the Press” has been on network television since 1947, and is the longest running American public affairs show.

Russert — who also was an attorney and a former aide to former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., and former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) — had a distinctive on-air style marked by tough questioning and extensive research that included posting well-documented quotes and charts on air.

During the 2000 election, Russert received light ribbing but made an indelible memory for making repeated references to a white dry-erase board he continued to write on while explaining the ongoing tallies. He eventually determined that night — before the recount and the hanging chads — by playing out numbers on his erase-board tally that Florida would be the center of the action.

Russert’s reputation — criticized both by conservatives for liberal bias, and liberals for conservative bias — might have been the only one left untarnished by the scandal involving former White House aide…… To continue [Click HERE]

Katie Couric: Is she being given a fair chance?

As I was watching Fox News the other afternoon I forget which segment it was but they brought up the fact that Katie Couric would be reporting from Baghdad next week and you would have thought all hell was going to break lose. They were saying how could she even thing of going over there, putting her life on the line when she has 2 young daughters to think of. That her career and the ratings for CBS meant more to her than her family knowing that several journalists had already lost their life

As I sat there listening I couldn’t help thinking none of these issues factored in when any of the male journalists went over or were sent over as part of their job and some of these men were/are husbands, fathers who had to leave their families behind but no one criticized their judgment or morals.

There seems to be separate standards for men and women who make it a tough world. In keeping with the topic of journalism, if a male journalist makes it to the top and lands the job as head anchor with a TV station he is considered a hard worker, one who has given time, energy and gone from runner, local reporter, state reporter, national reporter, part time weekend anchor to head anchor.

Now as we look at the other side of the picture there seems to be a different theory when it comes to female journalists. It seems that when a female journalist makes it to the top there is no mention of how they began as a journalist, considered a hard worker and worked their way from local, state and national reporter, part time weekend anchor to top anchor. On the contrary it seems the only justification for the female journalist who makes it to the top is not credited to her abilities but is credited to the number of bosses she slept with.  A good example is a book written by Edward Klein called “Katie: The Real Story”.  This book by Klein is an unauthorized bio and if you click on the link you will find an interesting interview between Klein and Fox’s “The Big Story” host Gregg Jarrett.  In my opinion I think the interview shows Klein to be very much a sexist.

As for Katie Couric and CBS why was it wrong for her to make the change? Isn’t it, at least I would think it would be, every journalist’s dream to become head anchor of one of the biggest TV stations. Those opportunities don’t come along that often especially for a female and if you don’t seize the opportunity you may never have the chance again.  Couric was offered the opportunity and there was no reason not to take it.  Frankly I think she would have been a fool to not accept it. 

For some reason it seems like everyone except CBS was not ready to give Couric that chance feeling that even though she had been with the “Today” show for 15 years she should stay there forever and not try and advance when she had the opportunity, an opportunity that any journalist would more than jump at the chance to have. 

I wonder how many of us ended up with certain jobs that we would not have if we had not been given a chance or someone hadn’t taken a chance on us.

I can’t imagine going solo as an anchor being an easy transition after co-anchoring for all those years.  The responsibility that goes with that position is definitely greater than what she was used to but she was willing to take on the challenge, accept the responsibility to work hard at trying to become one of the best female anchors for CBS or any place.  I think this has opened the door for other young femal journalists who have their sights set on top positions in journalism. 

I can’t help but think that there has to be someone behind all the initial critiquing and to me that person would be Dan Rather but that is just my own opinion.  I know Rather was know at CBS as “the Don” and it is my feeling that he enjoys causing any controversy he can when it comes to CBS and him handing in his resignation whether by his own decision or one that was made for him. 

There you have it, I don’t think she has been given a fair chance and has been unfairly judged so early on.     [ The interview ]