Journalism lost a legend last Friday. On June 13, just two days before Father’s Day, Tim Russert of NBC News collapsed and died of a heart attack.
Fittingly, he was working on the set of “Meet the Press,” a show he’d anchored since 1991. Russert loved the show and suffered no fools lightly in that realm. Big-league politicians always went on and had to know each time what they were going to get. To a person, each has described Russert as “tough but fair.”
It was just a couple of months ago that even the left-wingers were complaining about how hard Russert was on the Democratic candidates in one of their debates. Considering that Russert was born and raised a Democrat, and that he’d worked for Democrats Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo, this bulldogging was to his credit.
The big Buffalo native also was an avid Bills fan. I have him on an NFL video lending some comments about his beloved Bills. “We just wanted one; just one,” he seemed to implore.
I wish I’d been more deeply invested in Russert. I’ve always respected him but wish I’d watched ‘Meet the Press’ more and maybe even read his book, ‘Big Russ and Me,’ which is a tribute to his hardworking father.
Come to think of it, maybe reading that book – written by a man known for lifting up others, and in praise of a father who dutifully worked two full-time jobs to put his kids through college – would be the finest tribute a person could pay him …
Meet the Press, Father’s Day, 6-15-08 (Part I, II, III, IV, V, VI)
Jay Leno clip: Tim talks about his book, ‘Big Russ and Me.’
Conan O’Brien clips: On meeting Pope John Paul II, and Tim’s son.