Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tim the Enchanter

We're going to have to discuss the death of Tim Russert. He was a far more controversial figure than the hagiography that followed his death could possibly convey. Read the comment threads on this article. But his death -- and the DAYS of coverage that followed -- seemed to be a funeral for more than just the man himself. We celebrate a thing when it's dying. More was dying than just Russert. But what? NPR's Tom Ashbrook devoted his show to the idea that Russert may have repreented the tail end of sober-sided grown-up journalism now being crowded out by the histrionics of Keith Olbermann. (And Chris Matthews.) Ashbrook and his guests rejected the idea that Russert's clubby D.C. centrism -- embodied in the idea that Carville and Matalin are legitimate sources of political perspective as opposed to cynical hired guns -- is itself a "point of view" imposed on fact-patterns.
Others detected in the Russert coverage a kind of self-loving within the media which seemed more energetic than the actual coverage of, you know, news.
Russert had, in the blogosphere, often stood for exactly the kind journalism that bloggers dislike. But most of them had to stay pretty quiet for a while.

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