Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tim Russert R.I.P.

Let the record show, as Tim's income rose as an NBC newsanchor his protestations of country bumpkinsims grew ever more strident when he would call into the old "Imus in the Morning" program. Don being an enabler let him do this sans demure.
Why Russert did this is a mystery, he had a real need to be likable...a Q-Rating thing no doubt.
Guys like Tim like to cite the late President John F. Kennedy (whom they saw often on the TV as kids) as one of their lifelong inspirations. In fact, look at the calendar, Russert came of age during the NIxon Aufklarung, he is less the Last Son of Camelot and more one of Dick Nixon's prison bitches.
This accounts for Tim's tendency to pass over GOP abuses of power in rapt and reverent silence.
Anyone else recall the year long sacerdotal silence that stole over Russert when Scooter Libby dropped a dime on CIA Agent Valerie Plame? Funny how that monk-like silence hit during a presidential election year.
Tim was biased in favor of power and conservatism his default position was an unconscious belief that only conservative's are really ready to rule as we deserve to be ruled.
His great contribution to TV journalism was elevating the art of the false analogy to unheard of heights. All of Washington was in awe of this and regarded Tim's inane line of questioning as an occult knowledge of the superior type. He actually made the hinds believe he was raising the level of debate.
I can recall with the simplest nostalgia the 20002 Massachusetts Gubernatorial debate wherein Russert airly made citizen Shannon O'Brien responsible for the Commonwealth's allegedly lenient abortion consent laws and our strangely stringent tattoo age requirements.
To even ask someone such a bizarre question presupposes a host of GOP preferences and talking points...I mean it is no wonder O'Brien lost. To answer the question honestly would require a long recitation of competing claims on the state legislature and pressures brought to bear in respect of separate and different laws...none of which fit into a sound byte.
in fact there is no way to answer such a question with brevity and honesty it was mostly designed to a make a fool of the person to whom the question was asked.
They called this "The Russert Primary" and it was the closest thing to Marxian false consciousness as I've seen in forty six years of life.
Tim was good at it because he had a very constrained scholastic approach to logic, if "A Before B therefore creates C", it makes no factual sense but it looks great on paper and even better on television.

In some ways though, Russert got out just in time. The anchor-man as deity model lovingly designed by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950's has become decadent and corrupt and the province of outright robots like Brian Williams or blustery charlatans like Bill O'Reilly.
Ah but fifty eight is too young so the middle aged man in me says, and it's sad to leave behind teenagers and an elderly father.
The iron law of degradation though marches double time when it comes to TV journalism this means Russert will be replaced only by someone twice as bad.
Accordingly, in a year I know I will really miss Tim Russert.

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