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From: Bart (
Subject:         Tim Russert, Meet the Problem
Date: July 7, 2008 at 6:43 am PST

Tim Russert, Meet the Problem

June 13, 2008

Tim Russert died today, which is front page news on all the networks and papers. My condolences to his family for the loss of a loved one. For the rest of us, I can only hope that his removal will allow a real journalist to occupy the position that he wasted for so long.

Tim Russert was exactly what is wrong with America. He is the consummate Washington establishment journalist, exactly who Scott McClellan was talking about when he said that the press acts like a bunch of lapdogs eating the lies they get tossed like a bone.

During the Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame testimony before Congress, in which it became clear that he was a player and an insider, a trader of information, he testified under oath that he considered everything that anyone in power told him to be “background” and “off the record” unless he was explicitly given permission to print it. No wonder he was beloved by so many, he took the role of “journalist” and used the job description of “publicist” to do it. And that’s how our democracy gets dismantled when no one is paying attention.

The obituaries remind me of the death of Richard Nixon, with people falling over themselves to praise this unworthy man, as if his “preparedness” and “wit,” his genial manner, or his love for politics made him a good journalist.

Let me be clear: the reason that Bush is in office, that we are at war, that the economy is in the toilet, that our civil liberties have been destroyed, that we torture people and spy on our own citizens, is because of the failure of our corporate press to report facts and truth, in favor of merely restating “partisan” talking points and giving them equal uncritical weight. Tim Russert perfectly exemplified this; he completely abdicated his responsibility to report facts, truth and ask tough questions to people in power. Even Dick Cheney considered him part of his personal message machine. Tim Russert should be made to spend eternity with the Founding Fathers, so he can forever be dogged by Washington, Jefferson and Adams, who can lecture him for into the hereafter on liberty and freedom, and the duty of educated men in power to preserve our fragile democracy.

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