6.13.2008

why is everyone so upset about tim russert's sudden death?

Pardon me for seeming insensitive. I hope by now you know I am not an insensitive person. People are expressing shock, grief, and deep sorrow over the death of US media personality Tim Russert, and I cannot for the life of me understand what all the fuss is about.

People die every day. Did this man actually mean something to everyone, was everyone actually emotionally attached to Tim Russert that they are so blown away by a man's sudden heart attack?

If you knew someone personally, of course you are upset at their death.

If you were very attached to someone's work, such as an artist or musician or political figure who meant a lot to you, yes, of course.

But a news commenter? A corporate media pundit?

It's sad for his family and friends, but many families lost people today, and the day before, and tomorrow, and the day after that.

What's more, people are acting like Russert was the second coming of Edward R. Murrow or Nellie Bly. Tim Russert was on the front lines of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld's propaganda team, selling the invasion of Iraq. He was one of the many who gave Bush the candidate a free ride while treating bogus accusations like "swift boats" as fact. He was one of the reasons the US media is in the shape it's in. To anyone who cares about good journalism, he should not be missed.

55 comments:

Scott M. said...

It reminds me of the big heartfelt but very odd response to the death of Princess Diana. It's sort of a Mob Misery.

Odd.

redsock said...

Right-wing shill.

L-girl said...

It reminds me of the big heartfelt but very odd response to the death of Princess Diana.

Although I didn't share the grief about Diana, I could understand it. People really were deeply attached to her. And she did do a lot of good in the world - no one would ever have moved on land mines if it weren't for her. (I was just reading about that in Linda McQuaig's book.)

But this just baffles me. And I guess you too. You're smart!

L-girl said...

Thanks Allan. Too many people forget the larger picture when someone drops dead.

deang said...

Yes, it is odd, isn't it. I was baffled at the outpouring of grief when Nixon and Reagan died. For both, it suddenly became taboo to remember how awful they'd been all their lives. Suddenly, even Democrats who'd been defamed by them were declaring how great they were, with some even saying the presidents had been "misunderstood." But even that was somehow expected. This Russert stuff seems excessive.

James said...

I think part of it is that he was only 58 and at work when it happened -- most people think of heart attacks as something that happen to retired people. So now we have a whole bunch of media comentators facing a reminder that media comentators are as mortal as anybody.

And, of course, a lot of the news is covering NBC's coverage of Russert's death, which is made up of reporters put in the position of describing how their friend and colleague just collapsed and died in front of them. Shock and pain sell really well on the 24-hour news networks.

L-girl said...

I think part of it is that he was only 58 and at work when it happened -- most people think of heart attacks as something that happen to retired people.

Wow, that's even weirder to me. I guess partly because my father was 50 and at work when he had his first heart attack. But also because I know people have heart attacks on the job all the time.

So now we have a whole bunch of media comentators facing a reminder that media comentators are as mortal as anybody.

That's a big part of it, I think.

I was baffled at the outpouring of grief when Nixon and Reagan died.

That was horrendous. A travesty.

James said...

Wow, that's even weirder to me. I guess partly because my father was 50 and at work when he had his first heart attack. But also because I know people have heart attacks on the job all the time.

People know that intellectually, but most people never have to experience it, so it's still a shock when it happens to them or someone they know.

For both, it suddenly became taboo to remember how awful they'd been all their lives.

With Reagan, it was pretty much always taboo to remember how awful he'd been. He's been Saint Ronald to the GOP ever since he showed up, and still is.

L-girl said...

so it's still a shock when it happens to them or someone they know.

I guess part of my bafflement is the idea that we "know" people that we see on TV.

My co-workers talk about movie actors like they know them. They talk about their lives like they're family. I find it quite bizarre.

And not neutral, either. Because they are paying attention to celebrity gossip, but not what's going on in the world.

Kim_in_TO said...

I do understand the connection to people you don't know. When a tv program is really good, even fictional characters' deaths can be emotional. Years ago, I used to follow the Doonesbury comic strip, and when Gary Trudeau killed off one of the characters, I was actually quite sad, which speaks to his talent for making his characters real. As long as you don't have trouble separating fiction from reality, as some people do...

Before today I had never heard of Tim Russert. What I find odd is the numerous posts at "Progressive Bloggers" and "Vast Left Wing Conspiracy". Considering what Allan is pointing out about Russert's politics, I don't understand that.

And regarding death notices, I always do find odd the tendency to try to make someone sound perfect after they're gone. Part of it may be respect, and part of it may be an action of forgiveness and/or charity on our part, that a person we may have disliked will not be around to bother us any more, so we can say something nice just this once. But I still think we ought to strive to be more honest. Even in a time of grief, it is ok to remember someone's faults.

When a death is reported on tv news, you never hear a bad word. At the worst, you hear a sort of noncommittal, "well, he kept to himself". I'd rather hear something like, "well, he was an asshole, but he was devoted to his family".

Also, people with a notable achievement, like a promising career in athletics, are held up on a pedestal, and I find that problematic. As if your life doesn't matter as much, or you won't be missed - if all you've done is work the counter at McDonald's all your life?

John said...

He was well-liked by his colleagues in the news media, and influential because of "Meet The Press". This has obviously hit very close to home with the people who decide what gets shown on news programs, so they're showing him.

NBC's coverage, for instance, is disproportionate from the perspective of a viewer, but makes a certain sense. His colleagues are going through shock and grief. While any other group of people would react the same way, any other group of people don't directly control the content of a media empire. Since they probably can't think about anything else right now, and they still have to fill airtime, they're grieving live and in technicolor.

I expect things will calm down by late tomorrow or Sunday.

Jere said...

I hear a right-winger on my car radio saying he doesn't care about left-wing shill Tim Russert's death, then I come inside and read on the internet a left-winger talking about how she doesn't care about right-wing shill Tim Russert's death. I wonder what the moderates thought of the guy....

I'm absolutely not surprised by the coverage. As for why it happens, well, when lots people have someone talking to them all the time, and that person unexpectedly disappears, that's going to affect them. Even if they didn't really "know" the person. There are hundreds (thousands?) of us who love to get to get our multi-daily updates on all kinds of interesting and eye-opening things from Laura Kaminker, but how many of us have even met her? But we'd feel something if she was suddenly gone--meaning the blog ended, or the internet blew up, or she got horrible blisters from typing and had to stop, etc.

When you put it in perspective, Russet gets a day or two of tributes, Elvis gets 30 years and counting of tributes, conventions, documentaries, and millions of people pretending to BE him and refusing to believe he even died at all. So Russert's tribute is a lot closer in length to the average non-celeb's hometown tribute when you think of it that way.

The Reagan/Nixon comparisons don't fly because they didn't suddenly drop dead. I pretty much had the same reaction to those as Laura does about Russert: 'so what? they suck.' I even lost a dollar bet when Reagan died before the Pope. But even if was the person I hated the most in the world, and they died young/unexpectedly, it would still affect me and I would expect to see all kinds of tributes.

The celebrity world is a weird thing. I generally couldn't care less about their lives or who they're marrying this week or whatever. And I do think the "average" person's life is just as important to that of a celeb. But it's all relative. A person that 100 people know of get an obit in the local paper, and a person that 10 million people know of get a day or a week of tributes. None of it surprises me though I definitely feel we value famous people more than regular people in our society and it'd be pretty cool if we were all equal and I'd sign up for that right now, but people have their American dream of winning the lottery and being better than everyone else and it "keeps them going" even though they're just gonna be unsatisfied their whole life and die penniless and insane, still tryin' to make a phonograph record with a peanut.*

*last line courtesy Eddie Murphy circa '84

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

I'm all "shrug" about Tim Russert's death, but there are certainly journalists (and other public figures) who I'd feel grief for if they died. Even if I don't know anything about them personally, if I think they do good work, it can be painful to think that the world will never experience that work again.

L-girl said...

Kim, John, Jere, thanks very much for your thoughtful comments.

I do understand the "feeling like you know someone because you see them every day" connection. When I knew Peter Jennings had terminal lung cancer, I felt sad for him and his family, and was sad when he died.

This was only for a short time, b/c I didn't actually know him. But, as others have pointed out, Russert was a media person, so the people making the fuss were his colleagues.

I didn't make Jennings into a hero or imbue his death with major tragedy, but histrionics are the order of the day.

For me the Nixon/Reagan comparisons do fly, despite their deaths not being sudden. The similiarty is the public/media tendency to turn people into heroic figures when they die.

Re how Russert's political slant is categorized, there are people who feel anything left of Fox News is left wing. People actually try to claim that CNN is liberal.

I don't think this is a matter of perspective or a shifting centre. I think it's a serious misunderstanding of what the words "liberal" and "left" mean, of what is really happening in the world vs what is shown on mainstream TV news.

If you repeat something often enough, it becomes true for many people, whether or not there is an ounce of evidence for it. Thus, "everyone knows" the New York Times is left-wing, because they hear that so often, even though I could point out a dozen or so examples, just off the top of my head, when they have printed government propaganda as fact, and in fact have government operatives posing as reporters (a fact that has been proven for decades). Yet the Fox pundits claim "the New York Times is left-wing" therefore it is so.

So if the NY Times is left-wing, CNN becomes liberal. And so on.

And back to Russert, I also never knew (until a big argument at Allan's blog) that Tim Russert was considered a great journalist! I think that's really sad. He hosted a popular television news-talk show. But a "great journalist"? Wow.

L-girl said...

I'm all "shrug" about Tim Russert's death, but there are certainly journalists (and other public figures) who I'd feel grief for if they died. Even if I don't know anything about them personally, if I think they do good work, it can be painful to think that the world will never experience that work again.

Yes, definitely. That is similar to how I feel. I guess I never realized anyone would feel this way about this guy!

It's also the extent of it. I'd feel sadness, but people were freaking out yesterday. But hey. Freaking out is what the media (and often, the blogosphere) does.

Nigel Patel said...

I get that. I was so bummed when John Entwistle and Joe Strummer died or even Molly Ivins but that's all personal and relative.
But the people mourning Russert are all pols and journalists, he's one of their own so I can see why their so broken up.

Amy said...

I have said this elsewhere, but my reaction to Russert's death was not dissimilar to how I feel when I hear that any individual person has died when I sense some connection to that person---whether it was a boy scout killed in the floods of Iowa or Tim Russert. It is sad for someone to be cut down before the normal lifespan has elapsed. Russert was my peer, he had kids the age of my kids--how can I not relate to that?

And yes, I was sad for Nancy Reagan when Reagan died. I could identify with losing the love of your life. I do not recall being sad at all when Nixon died though. Maybe because Pat was already gone.

So for me, it's about empathy, sympathy. I cry at sad movies and TV shows when characters I like die; I cry when I read books and characters die. They weren't even EVER alive.

Doesn't it always come back to our own fears of loss and mortality? Doesn't seeing Tom Brokaw mourn his colleague make each one of us think about losing a friend?

I guess I just don't see what is so mysterious about this at all.

L-girl said...

I get that. I was so bummed when John Entwistle and Joe Strummer died or even Molly Ivins but that's all personal and relative.

Right. Same for me with various people with whom I feel a personal connection.

But the people mourning Russert are all pols and journalists, he's one of their own so I can see why their so broken up.

But they're not all pols and pundits. They're bloggers and TV viewers and (it seems) everyone who saw Russert on TV.

Well, apparently many more people feel a personal connection with TV talking heads than I do!

L-girl said...

I cry at sad movies and TV shows when characters I like die; I cry when I read books and characters die. They weren't even EVER alive.

I cry from books and movies too, although not just because characters that I like die, usually from tragic circumstances or very sad stories.

The fact that they are fiction doesn't make it less tragic - in fact, if it's a good book or movie, I've become way more invested in that fictional tragedy than I am in the life of a TV personality.

Russert was my peer, he had kids the age of my kids--how can I not relate to that?

I understand your empathy, but I don't share it when it comes to any news of any person who dies. As insensitive as this sounds, my reaction to this death was "wow, that's a surprise", period.

I wouldn't expect Russert's family to care about a death in my family, nor think them insensitive that they didn't.

It's interesting to hear people explain their feelings about this. It's fascinating insight for me, truly like looking into a strange and foreign world.

L-girl said...

There are hundreds (thousands?) of us who love to get to get our multi-daily updates on all kinds of interesting and eye-opening things from Laura Kaminker, but how many of us have even met her? But we'd feel something if she was suddenly gone--meaning the blog ended, or the internet blew up, or she got horrible blisters from typing and had to stop, etc.

Jere, I meant to thank you for this. :)

I'd certainly be sad and bewildered if the internet blew up and you were suddenly gone from view. (If that happens, call me, ok?!)

Oh and hundreds, yes. Thousands, I doubt it.

Jere said...

"For me the Nixon/Reagan comparisons do fly, despite their deaths not being sudden. The similiarty is the public/media tendency to turn people into heroic figures when they die."

That's true, but for really old, dying people, you're talking about a tribute that's been years in the making, and has probably literally been written already, then they just slip the date in. Whereas with a sudden death, you've got people basically saying "holy shit" on the air and trying to piece stuff together.

And RIGHT when someone dies, of course people aren't gonna come on the air and say, "I'd like to point out what a prick this guy was." There's the rest of eternity for that--apparently everybody gets a day of "here's the good stuff."

Thanks fr answering the other question about whether he was left or right. So it's like how we hear right-wingers talk about the Clintons as being "left-wing" and roll our eyes. I totally understand. In Russert's case, I just really never knew much about him other than "Buffalo Bills; dad stuff" so I was a little baffled....

And come on, surely at least a four-digit number of people read your blog!

L-girl said...

That's true, but for really old, dying people, you're talking about a tribute that's been years in the making, and has probably literally been written already, then they just slip the date in. Whereas with a sudden death, you've got people basically saying "holy shit" on the air and trying to piece stuff together.

Ah yes, huge difference.

There's the rest of eternity for that--apparently everybody gets a day of "here's the good stuff."

My problem is more the massive and almost permanent revisionism / rehabilitation. Nixon's had his, and Reagan.

And come on, surely at least a four-digit number of people read your blog!

"Not every day." /kramer

Amy said...

Actually, what usually makes me cry in movies and books is not death, but reconciliation. Lovers reconciling, parent and child reconciling, etc. I wonder what that means....

Russert may not have been a personal hero of mine or even my favorite TV journalist, but he was not an evil person. I find nothing wrong with people saying kind things about him. I expect that when I die, people will wait a respectful period of time before making critical comments about me!

redsock said...

Russert may not have been a personal hero of mine or even my favorite TV journalist, but he was not an evil person.

It depends how you define evil. Knowingly promoting the propaganda of war criminals for years is not my idea of being a swell guy.

(Obviously, he is far from alone in that regard, but we're talking only about him today.)

L-girl said...

Russert may not have been a personal hero of mine or even my favorite TV journalist, but he was not an evil person.

Evil? Probably not. But you're saying you felt sadness about Reagan's passing (or at least empathy for Nancy), and Reagan was certainly evil.

You have a lot more nonpartisan empathy than I do!

Would you feel sadness and empathy at the passing of someone like Pinochet?

I find nothing wrong with people saying kind things about him.

I find nothing wrong with people saying nice things about Tim Russert if those things are true. Since I think he was a corporate hack, and I'm hearing him lionized as a great journalist, I do mind.

I expect that when I die, people will wait a respectful period of time before making critical comments about me!

I don't care what strangers say about me while I'm alive, so I certainly won't care once I'm gone. Not everyone likes everyone else. I'm sure Tim Russert knew that full well.

Amy said...

Yeah, I guess my definition of "evil" is narrower than being a biased journalist. Bush, Cheney: evil. Bin Laden: evil. Hitler, Stalin, etc.: evil.

Maybe you will say I am too forgiving or too tolerant. So be it. I just cannot condemn the man as evil.

L-girl said...

Maybe you will say I am too forgiving or too tolerant. So be it. I just cannot condemn the man as evil.

I don't think you're too tolerant nor me too intolerant. It's just a different outlook.

I don't know if the word evil is appropriate for him. But I condemn every part of the US war machine - the industries, the stockholders, the people who planned it, the Democrats who didn't vote against it, the media people who helped sell it to the public.

redsock said...

Maybe "evil" is pushing it.

But it is beyond doubt that in because he (and many others) failed to properly do his (their) job that tens of thousands of people are dead and many more lives are forever ruined.

I'm thinking here only of the latest invasion of Iraq. There have been many other travesties (committed by Democrats and Republicans ) that could have been avoided had the press asked a few questions and stated a few facts.

Russert and his ilk must share some of the blame.

Amy said...

I was not sad for me when Reagan died; I felt sad for Nancy. I was not at all sad about Nixon, nor will I be when Bush, Cheney, etc., die. I certainly would consider Pinochet evil. I guess I would call someone evil if they use their power to hurt innocent people for their own gain or evil motives. On the other hand, there are lots of people I genuinely dislike whom I would not consider evil. They may not even be "bad people"---I just don't like them.
So evil for me is a word I would reserve for truly detestable, unredeemable people.

Amy said...

On that, Alan, I totally agree. The press (including Russert) did not do their job in 2001 or thereafter, and they still are not doing it. I have absolutely no problem condemning them for that.

But I still feel empathy for Russert as a human being. I don't think his motives were evil (unlike Bush and Cheney). I think that like lots of people, he and other members of the press were ignorant, blinded by fear, and lazy. I know too many other people who reacted like that after 2001 who are good and decent people to think that that is a sign of evil.

L-girl said...

I'm not sure how the word evil came up here in the first place. I don't think anyone said Russert was evil?

L-girl said...

I know too many other people who reacted like that after 2001 who are good and decent people to think that that is a sign of evil.

Leaving the word evil aside, because I don't think it's relevant, how the average person reacted after 9/11 and how the media reacted should be separate. Journalists have a responsbility that the average person does not.

I assume by 2001 you mean 9/11.

Amy said...

Well, actually I used the word evil first (saying he was not evil). I confess to using the old "straw man" approach to argument. I essentially suggested that you were calling him evil and then argued against that position (which in fact you had never taken). Sorry--I hadn't set it up that way intentionally!

And yes, I meant 9/11/01. And I do agree that journalists and politicians should be held to higher standards than ordinary people.

OK, so I guess we can agree that he was not evil, but that he and the rest of the media failed and continue to fail us by not investigating and reporting more aggressively on the EVILS of the Bush administration.

And on the conciliatory note, I am off to the beach!

L-girl said...

OK, so I guess we can agree that he was not evil, but that he and the rest of the media failed and continue to fail us by not investigating and reporting more aggressively on the EVILS of the Bush administration.

Right. But you can still feel human sympathy and empathy in that situation, which speaks very well of you. And I am just left going, who cares.

Thanks for this. Enjoy the beach!

Jere said...

"Reagan was certainly evil."

You don't hear this enough.

L-girl said...

"Reagan was certainly evil."

You don't hear this enough.


Let's repeat it for emphasis.

Ronald Reagan was evil.

redsock said...

John Cole on Tim Russert:
"I liked Tim Russert ... MSNBC has been running nothing but a 5 hour (and presumably it will go until 11 pm or beyond) marathon of Russert remembrance. CNN has done their due diligence, and Fox news has spent at least the last half hour talking non-stop about him. ... [there is] no clearer demonstration of the fact that they consider themselves to be players and the insiders ... This is precisely the problem. They have walked the corridors of power so long that they honestly think they are the story. It is creepy and sick and the reason politicians get away with all the crap they get away with these days. Tim Russert was a newsman. He was not the Pope. This is not the JFK assassination, or Reagan’s death, or the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. A newsman died. We know you miss him, but please shut up and get back to work."

Uggabugga (where I found the link): "It was strange to watch the entire NBC Nightly News this Friday devoted to Russert."

L-girl said...

Matthew Rothschild on Tim Russert.

Tim Russert, by all accounts I’ve heard, including from people on the progressive side who knew him well, was a decent guy.

The news of his death came as a shock to me, as it did to everyone: He was a fixture for those of us who are obsessed with politics. And to be stricken of a heart attack at 58 is a fate that no one should have to suffer.

I feel bad for his family, and for his colleagues.

For many years, I looked forward to watching him on Meet the Press.

But I stopped after September 11.

As the praise for Russert has overflowed, I just want to register, even at the risk of showing bad manners, a discordant note.

I stopped watching him regularly after September 11 because he became a cheerleader for war.

Joe Grav said...

I only have one comment to make: Russert was a lifelong Democrat, from a Democratic family, who worked for two Democrats in the political world, before going on to become a member of the media at the news organization most closely linked with outspoken liberals (Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow).

So... I dunno.

Alex said...

Tim Russert hosted "Meet the Press" for 18 years - and unlike so many of today's "schills", he actually understood the issue he interviewed politicans about - and tried to tackle both sides evenly.

The reason people (including myself) are upset is because now we're left with the "schills" on CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, etc... who serve their own personal agendas or the agenda of the corporate media parents.

It is amazing to me that right wing blogs call him a leftist and left wing blogs call him a conservative shill, while all the time he was just an ethical journalist - and America doesn't have many of them left.

L-girl said...

he was just an ethical journalist

You consider helping to sell a war on false pretences to the US public ethical? I do not.

L-girl said...

Russert was a lifelong Democrat, from a Democratic family, who worked for two Democrats in the political world, before going on to become a member of the media at the news organization most closely linked with outspoken liberals (Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow).

A. These are the Democrats that voted for all the war funding Bush asked for. The Democrats who didn't say boo while Bush/Cheney did everything they've done. The Democrats who won the 2006 midterm elections with a pledge to end the war. Etc. etc.

Perhaps you are confusing being a Democrat with being liberal? I'm not sure.

B. Despite the presence of Keith Olbermann, one could not correctly call MSNBC liberal any more than one could call CNN liberal. Their news coverage is still government stenography.

Allowing one progressive a place to rant helps keep liberal people tuned in, and (apparently, from what you're saying) makes viewers think MSNBC is a liberal news org. Serious study of their coverage, however, will show otherwise. See Media Matters for more on that.

C. He was a cheerleader for the war. That is incompatible with ethical journalism, indeed, with real journalism of any kind.

Amy said...

Interesting piece on Russert and the shape of the "new media" here .

redsock said...

Russert was a lifelong Democrat

What kind of Democrat? A Wellstone Democrat or a Lieberman/Zell Meller Democrat?

There is a huuuuuge difference. And even if Russert shared the same values as Wellstone, we were not talking about his personal beliefs.

We were talking about his work as a newsman. And in that regard, he clearly abandoned any left-leaning opinions he may have had outside his workplace's door. Whether that was his own choice or was demanded of him by his employer, it matters not one whit.

That facts clearly show that more times that not, he carried water for the right-wing. Laura's example of the Iraq invasion/occupation is merely the most shameful (and fairly recent) example.

James said...

I'd gladly take a competent conservative reporter's work over that of a "liberal" stenographer.

(The "competent" part is important -- Fox News doesn't count...)

L-girl said...

James, very good point!

Amy, nice linkage. :)

Joe Grav said...

[MSNBC's] news coverage is still government stenography.

Wow. I'm sorry. I hate to use this word, but that's just a dumb comment to make.

I watch MSNBC all the time, and I freely admit that it's because they are biased toward my side. Sometimes, even I get uncomfortable by how much they pump up Obama and torch McCain and Clinton.

The Democratic Party may not be suitably liberal for your desires, but if you're going to call someone a schil for the Republican Party, it doesn't help your case when the person is a life long Democrat.

Joe Grav said...

Olbermann just reported tonight on FOX News anchors dismissing Russert as a member of the much loathed Liberal Media, and "White Power" websites celebrating his death since it was an appearance on "Meet the Press" that de-railed David Duke's campaign in Louisiana; they accused Russert of being "unfair" to Duke.

Not exactly the greatest company to be in.

L-girl said...

I watch MSNBC all the time, and I freely admit that it's because they are biased toward my side. Sometimes, even I get uncomfortable by how much they pump up Obama and torch McCain and Clinton.

Do you not understand what's being said here, Joe?

The people criticizing Russert's brand of pseudo-journalism don't care which of the two ruling parties he aligns himself with. The fact that he aligns himself with either of them disqualifies him from real journalism.

Pumping up the Democrats doesn't mean you're challenging what's going on. It doesn't mean you're asking real questions and getting at the truth. It just means you're pumping up the Democrats. And the Democrats are at least half the problem.

Real journalism doesn't "pump up" candidates. It seeks truth.

redsock said...

Reuters: "Democrats in the Congress, who came to power last year on a call to end the combat in Iraq, will soon give President George W. Bush the last war-funding bill of his presidency without any of the conditions they sought for withdrawing U.S. troops, congressional aides said on Monday."

GOT TO LOVE THE DEMOCRATS!!!!

So left, so liberal, so not-Republican!!!

L-girl said...

More thoughts about Russert and journalism in this thread.

James said...

if you're going to call someone a schil for the Republican Party, it doesn't help your case when the person is a life long Democrat.

I dunno, Lieberman's a Democrat and a shill for the Republicans.

For that matter, the Democrat party as a whole handed Bush everything he wanted, and even when they did do something he didn't like, they never offered a serious challenge to his signing statements that completely undercut their bills.

Joe Grav said...

Russert didn't 'pump up' democrats either. That's for sure.

Lieberman is not a Democrat, he left the party last year.

I agree that good journalism means seeking the truth, which is why I have to laugh when you offer up opinion pieces as examples of 'real journalists.'

L-girl said...

Lieberman was a democrat most of his career, as you know. His leaving is quite recent. Our critique of him as right-wing encompasses his time as a Democrat.

You said MSNBC pumped up the Dems, not me.

Are you saying that the people I listed in the other post - Sy Hersh, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges, John Pilger, et al - are not journalists? If you are saying that, it's time for you to abandon the discussion, because you are out of ideas. If you're not saying that, then I'm not getting your point, and please do explain more.

Journalists do write opinion pieces sometimes - they are still journalists while doing so, and their opinions are supported with facts. But the people I listed are not primarily opinion-piece writers. So I'm not sure what you mean. If indeed you mean anything, at this point.

Cornelia said...

He was one of the many who gave Bush the candidate a free ride while treating bogus accusations like "swift boats" as fact. He was one of the reasons the US media is in the shape it's in. To anyone who cares about good journalism, he should not be missed.

Some people simply have a weird taste and side with the Republicans, I guess!