I was saddened to hear that Tim Russert of NBC News and long-time host of Meet the Press collapsed in his office today and died of a heart attack at age 58.
Those of us who consider ourselves journalists, as well as those of us like this Turkey who pretend to be journalists, can view the corpus of work assembled over Russert’s journalistic career as a model of integrity and substance, something to live up to. Russert never shied away from asking the tough question and never arrived at an interview without doing his research. He didn’t shoot from the hip; he took aim, took a breath, and squeezed off his shots, which seldom missed the mark.
Russert was serious when he needed to be, but he frequently mixed in a lighter side, which revealed his humanity. Family was everything to him, and always came first. He appeared to genuinely like the vast preponderance of his interviewees, who responded by returning the favor. He always appeared to be humble, never full of himself like many other journalists. He was always himself.
Although family and work came first, Tim Russert was a devout football fan. His beloved Buffalo Bills never won the Super Bowl for him, which he deserved at least once.Â It is sad that he did not live to see that dream come true.
I watched Meet the Press every Sunday, and it was because of Tim Russert that I did. I feel as if I have lost a friend.
My heart goes out to the Russert Family and to all who knew him. Saddened though I am, I cannot presume to imagine the pain of their loss.