Saturday, June 14, 2008

RIP Tim Russert

This is one tough post to write. In the short time I opened this blog, a reader can see I'm tough on the Media. It might be because I think some (if not many) are dumbing down the profession that holds so much accountability to its audience. But I hold a few of its members in high regard and one of those few was Tim Russert.

I can't believe he's gone. Like millions of people around the country and the world, I'm still in a state of shock that I'm not going to see Tim Russert on Meet The Press this Sunday. Not just for Sunday, the rest of the election season. This was a man who made politics fun and accessible to the everyday man. You didn't need to have an ivy-league education to understand Russert. Who can forget how he reduced the complexity of the 2000 November election to three simple words on a dry erase board: Florida, Florida, Florida!

Here I am young enough to be Russert's daughter but I never felt a generation gap in understanding him even though I pale in comparison to his intellect. I think that was the charm he brought to his viewers; a blue-collar kind of guy talking to the dignitaries of the land. And boy did he talk to them, more like grilled the truth out of them.

For my generation, his grilling but fair tactics was parodied on Saturday Night Live by the brilliant Darrell Hammond and he got the humor. He even did a fake-serious interview with fake Presidential candidate Stephen Colbert. Now that was a pundit who was in touch.

He showed how in touch he was with his best-selling book "Big Russ & Me." A story about life lessons from a father and son relationship. That book solidified his legacy of not just being one of the premiere journalists of his generation but a devoted father and son (not to talk of husband). He made many rekindle their relationships with their own fathers.

This is the second journalist I felt was taken too soon; the first was Peter Jennings. It showed how fickle life really is and to cherish every moment we're blessed with the gift. So in honor of Tim Russert's memory not just for the legacy he left for the excellence in journalism but to Dads everywhere.

On the eve of Father's Day, I would like to say Thanks Dad and MOD (My Other Dads) - I couldn't have been the fearless daughter without your guidance and my heartfelt condolence and prayers to the Russert family.

Tags: Tim Russert, Meet the Press, SNL, Big Russ