Friday, June 13, 2008

NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert Dies at 58

Many people here in the US are deeply saddened with the sudden passing of Tim Russert, the NBC News Washington Bureau Chief. MSNBC has had continuous coverage, understandably, as people learn of his passing throughout the evening. There are many great interviews for those of you who loved to watch this man who was about as authentic of a journalist as one could find out there.

My prayers go out for the repose of his soul, and for his grieving family, friends, and co-workers. I give tremendous credit to his co-workers who are continuing to work on MSNBC right now, just mere hours after he collapsed at work of an apparent heart-attack as he prepared for this Sunday's, Meet the Press. Resuscitation attempts were made immediately with no success, and he could not be revived at the hospital.

He had just returned from Italy where he and his family were celebrating the graduation of his son from Boston College. Cardinal John Patrick Foley was being interviewed moments ago and had met with the family in Rome just this week while they were there. Please pray for them on what will be a most difficult Father's Day.

Before I came to Assumption Grotto, I was a somewhat of a political junkie and use to watch all of the Sunday news shows which is where I developed my fondness for Mr. Russert's skills. My faith took center stage and I suddenly lost interest in all of that, but was looking forward to tuning in during this election year.

I can tell you that Tim Russert was among my favorite's to watch because I truly had no idea what his views were. That's because the man was being a true journalist and putting others in the center, as it should be, not himself. He always treated those he interviewed with dignity and respect and not in a condescending manner, even when they were evading his skillfully laid out questions. He was a rare breed for a journalist today in many regards. In addition to his uncanny ability to draw out people's positions without badgering them, he did his homework, and knew other's positions sometimes better than they knew them. He was objective. I only learned a few minutes ago that Tim was a registered "independent", even though he had a short political career working for Democrats early on.

Tim Russert did not twist people's words, but would aid those being interviewed into conflicts created by their own words from past speeches, books, and other media. He did not trip people up; they tripped themselves up. He knew how to end the "BS" - politely and constructively - to get back to the point at hand, but he did it with class.

He was always happy and full of joy - that likeable kind of guy that gets along with everyone. We can only hope that all young people interested in journalism will study his life and his abilities to learn from him what authentic journalism is all about.

How ironic that his life should end before his Dad's and so close to Father's Day. His book Big Russ and Me was a big hit.

He was a gentleman, a Catholic, a true journalist, and a family man. Only Our Lord knows why he was called in the peak of his career and at such a happy time in his life. Thanks be to God that he and his family got to spend some quality time together before his passing.
Requiescat in pace, Tim Russert.

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