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Tim Russert was one in a million

Posted: June 21, 2008 2:23 a.m.
Updated: August 22, 2008 5:04 a.m.
Tim Russert's sudden death is sad for his family, his friends, and his many colleagues, but it is us, the viewers, who should mourn this loss as well.

So many knew he represented unbiased reporting of the issues, especially around election time, and we will now have to work harder to replace what we had come to rely on without question.

During these times, when clownish show ponies with objectives use controversy, screaming, insults and lies to appeal to - if not the lowest level of intelligence in this country, certainly the laziest - knowing that Tim Russert kept his personal political opinions to himself and used hard work and relentless fact-checking to get answers was an oasis in a desert of stupidity in news reporting.

No wonder so many have so much good to say about this person.

NBC's Web site, and even competing news shows, have a growing list of news journalists, politicians and world leaders making essentially the same statements about Tim Russert since his death was announced that, in the current-day journalistic field, characterizes him as an oddity.

"His integrity, intelligence, and fairness will be greatly missed, and Sunday mornings will never be the same." - Nancy Reagan.

"A great man has been lost. It is not just that our system depends on intelligent, persistent, fair-minded journalists, and Tim was one." - Sen. John Edwards.

"No one was more fair and more objective than Tim Russert." - Sen. Bob and Elizabeth Dole

"Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well informed and thorough in his interviews." - President George Bush

"With a reasoned voice, a sharp mind and a fair hand, Tim took the measure of every Washington official and all those that sought to be one." - Sen. Edward Kennedy

"He was fair, but always relentless in his pursuit of truth and honesty from those who dared to lead the nation." - Gov. Mike Huckabee

"In seeking answers to tough questions, he helped inform the American people and make our democracy stronger." - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton

"Tim was the best of our profession. He asked the best questions and then he listened for the answer." - Bob Schieffer, CBS News chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation

"Tim Russert was a giant in our field - a standard-bearer of journalistic integrity and ethics." - Walter Cronkite

When the powers-that-be at the many news outlets - electronic, television, radio, and print - analyze the full magnitude of Tim Russert's legacy, how will the legacies of the O'Reillys, Coulters, Limbaughs and so many others hold up?

If they have the capacity to think at that level of complexity, they should. On the white, erasable board of life, it's Tim Russert: One million; ALL others: 0.


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