Tim Russert – Thomas Sowell @ Real Politics
Thomas Sowell has written a column in tribute to Tim Russert at Real Politics. He made some interesting points about Mr Russert. One of these points was how Mr Russert was different from those who are doing the reporting or covering politics today:
What made Tim Russert special was not some trademark catchword or contrived persona. What you saw was what you got– a down to earth guy who came on the air having thoroughly researched the subject and having a keen insight into politics and politicians.
He didn’t flaunt his knowledge. He was one of the few very smart people who seemed to feel no need to impress others that he was smart. But, if you knew the subject that he was talking about, you realized that he had really done his homework.
There was something else that set Tim Russert apart from many other journalists, whether print journalists or broadcast journalists: His agenda was bringing out the facts.
As I stated in my previous post about Mr Russert’s death, it is going to be difficult to replace him because of the decline NBC is going through in their reporting. In a second point, Mr Sowell detailed what made Mr Russert the best moderator:
But, whatever Tim Russert’s political opinions were then or later, that was not what his program was about. He was there to serve the audience by bringing out the facts about the political world, a world where spin is the usually name of the game.
Often critics who complain about media bias argue as if what is needed is to be “fair” to “both sides.” But what is far more important is to be honest with the audience– who are seeking information and understanding about the real world, not about the ideology or the agenda of the journalist.
This is not to denigrate opinion journalists, who have a valuable role to play, just as reporters like Tim Russert do. But, with both opinion journalists and reporters, the question is whether you play it straight with the audience, instead of filtering out inconvenient facts in order to manipulate the audience in favor of some agenda.
In short, the issue is honesty rather than “fairness.” The question is whether journalists put their cards on the table. Russert put his cards on the table– and they were high cards.
Again, Mr Russert was definitely a different type of person than those today who cover reporting politics of Washington. We need more like him in covering our news. He will be missed.
Please read further into Mr Sowell column, you would learn what Mr Russert did for Mr Sowell in obtaining an archive copy of Mr Sowell’s appearance on Meet the Press in 1980s. This speaks to the character to Mr Russert.