I guess it was about 1:00 p.m. (PDT) today when I heard that Tim Russert, chief of NBC's Washington Bureau, had died suddenly. The news nearly immobilized me! I spent the next several hours sitting teary-eyed in front of the TV watching MSNBC and learning about his life from people mainly in the worlds of news and politics. Why have I been so affected by the death of someone I know only from the television screen?
Because of my own background, I am a bit of a political news junkie. But I am driven to distraction by most political commentators and pundits who seem to be more enamored of their own agendas than they are by learning and sharing what is happening around us in the political world. There are very few outstanding political analysts who find answers without becoming overly adversarial toward those they interview. Tim Russert was among the best; he was a pleasure to watch and I always learned something from him, his guests, and his interview subjects.
Watching analysis of election returns just will not be the same without Russert. In the past 6 months, his Saturday program on MSNBC has provided most of the intelligent discussion I have heard about the presidential primaries. His moderating of Meet the Press always was masterful. His knowledge and incredible good humor seemed to rub off on those around him. Maybe that is why his death feels like losing a member of the family.
Rest in peace Tim! I hope those who follow in your footsteps will demonstrate some of what you offered us. You will be missed!