Our Generally Crappy Mainstream Media--Perhaps eclipsing the death of the last Pope, Rudolph Valentino, JFK, RFK, and Gerald Ford (still dead), we got an earful about the allegedly wonderful Meet the Press host over the last several days. The litany was endless over what a "great guy" Russert was, and just what an incredible journalist he'd been...except that he wasn't, and expect them to keep braying. And where's Russert's Oswald? It was his heart, it betrayed him after he betrayed all of us.
Granted, he cast a charming Irish spell on those of us who want to feel reassured by a journalist who doesn't ask the "hard" questions of public officials--something he rarely ever did, if ever. I never noticed any substantial questions. For those of us who don't want things to change for the better, and for those of us who are afraid of a truly dynamic democracy where there's supposed to be acrimony and disagreement, Tim Russert was Jesus.
There is one thing, and one thing only that the late Tim Russert should be remembered for: he and his counsel resisted testifying over his involvement in the Plame scandal, an incident that needs no explaining to anyone paying attention. Russert had crucial information on the outing of a CIA officer by members of the executive branch as part of a disinformation campaign surrounding the pretext for the war in Iraq, and he withheld it. So much for patriotism or principles, Russert was a crusader-in-disguise for creeping authoritarianism:
Russert was aware that a special prosecutor probing the leak of a CIA operative's name knew of his summer 2003 telephone conversation with Libby, and that Libby had released him from any promise of confidentiality. [Ed.-My emphasis.] But Russert, the Washington bureau chief for NBC News and host of "Meet the Press," and his attorneys argued in previously sealed court filings in June 2004 that he should not have to tell a grand jury about that conversation, because it would harm Russert's relationship with other sources. ("Russert Resisted Testifying On Leak," the Washington Post, 01.10.2006)As this site has always contended, the livelihoods and careers of these so-called journalists are their main priority, and they believe in nothing. The "Fourth Estate" aren't concerned or worried about our rights, and therefore feel no connection to the social contract or the common good. What they care about is themselves only, but orders are orders. But man, the coverage of his death! Oh, the coverage! Wall-to-wall, just breathtaking.
CNN and other major television news outlets even told us that there was a rainbow shining during Russert's funeral, strangely begging the question that he--like El Presidente--was somehow touched by God (more like in the head).
Mark this, and mark it well: whenever this system props-up a supplicant like Tim Russert for public deification, something is amiss, and the lies are flying. Court jesters had more courage than this clown ever did. Mediacrit.com sums-it-up best:
Being favored by Dick Cheney’s handlers doesn’t sound like a case for the journalism hall of fame, though.
In the case of Russert, we should consider what small impact “public affairs” journalism like Meet the Press has in these days of The Daily Show, social networking on the Internet, and Obama’s nontraditional campaign. I think the New York Times’ Media Equation columnist David Carr got it right when he observed that the mourning seemed not only for Russert, but an attempt to celebrate and shore up the increasingly irrelevant establishment political journalism. ("Mourning in America," Mediacrit.com, 06.19.2008)
All hail the death of establishment journalism. No, there's no reason at all to think of Tim Russert as anything but an American version of a commentator for Pravda under the Soviet regime, or a voice-over from a creaky old Nazi propaganda film. He was a stooge, a lapdog, and a moral coward without a shred of credibility.
Not that that makes him any different from his peers who attended his funeral this week, endlessly expounding on his (and their) fictitious merits as a journalist. His passing really is only relevant in relation to the Plame scandal.
"Russert Resisted Testifying On Leak," the Washington Post, 01.10.2006: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/09/AR2006010901745.html
Mediacrit knocks it out of the park, June 19th, 2008: