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General News    H2'ed 6/15/08

The very public wake of Tim Russert reveals press cronyism

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Message Melina Brown


Americans seem to be almost psychotically transfixed with the pomp and circumstance surrounding it as we also seemingly have a real need to connect with those who have died, whether we knew them or not. We have to know exactly what happened, lest it happen to us...and worrying that we might have a sudden heart attack while on the way to work, we're probably a million times more likely to get hit by a truck!

Yeah, in the wake of all this, it is imperative that Americans lose weight and eat better. It is imperative that people know that the American diet is so fatty that even slim people have fat around their organs inside; its not about how you look on the outside as much as its the fat in and around your actual organs. They say that Tim Russert's huge fight was with pizza and beer and all that ballgame stuff...well, clearly he enjoyed those things and denied that the trade-off for that moment of sheer enjoyment was less time alive. He did seem to be incredibly happy all the time and it may have been a good trade-off for him; only he knows that now, but I doubt his kid would think so.

I just wonder about those of us who are making bad choices because we are miserably overworked or lonely at home and using food as something that it's not. So regarding this crazy "can this happen to me?" instinct that we have; well, yes, anything can happen, and Tim had been on his exercise bike that fact this was such a hidden problem that if he had had a stress test that morning it wouldn't have shown anything.

But, should we all be aware of eating healthy to live, unless the food thing is giving us a real life experience that is worth any loss of time? Yes! It needs to be a priority, and we need to realize that we deserve the extra time that it takes to take care of ourselves, regardless of what Tim's problems were.

This well rounded guy, who was likely a very competitive workaholic, (you may not get that from the other workaholics at MSNBC,) was well loved, and from what they say, he was willing to debate anything and everything including his deep, "unquestioning," Catholic faith. He loved politics like a kid in a candy store and he had deep abiding relationships with friends, and adored his family. To me, the tragedy of such an early death is blunted by a life well lived. So, off you go Timmy...its sad that it has to happen, but if there is a heaven, then it all makes sense now.

Watching the parade of luminaries taking part in the on air Irish wake for Tim Russert on MSNBC, (and all the other stations,) has been sad, gratifying, horrible, and maddening in that there is just so much of it, and you would think that this was the death of someone who actually DID something for the world, rather than added to the news blackout and cronyism of the past 7+ years and beyond! My first horrible thought after the sheer shock of how young he was, was a very unsavory feeling that this may be the only way to dislodge those crony's from their places as "the most important political pundits in the world."

That said, this same luminary parade is worth looking at because it points to what the problem is and has been with the M$M. As difficult as it is to come to terms with in the moment of their grief, and as much as Russert supposedly did for political reporting and NBC, its just sorta rich to watch everyone from the neutered Howard Dean to his closest friends, Al Hunt and Mike Barnacle, talk about the funny and happy moments fishing in Nantucket, and the way that he took over the Washington bureau and Meet the Press, and saved the NBC political news machine, without having the creepy feeling that somehow the old guard is commenting on themselves and how great they are, and that the bottom line in saving that news machine was and is profit rather than truth.

As a very religious woman who personally made it a priority to perform charity work and focus on truth, it's hard for me to come to terms with this array of the older set who managed to sit by as the last 7+ years of neocons lied us into a war with no end, and stole this country blind. As the lie has unraveled, most of these pundits have stated that they believed the lies initially, and tried their best to bring out the truth as they came to their senses along with the rest of the country. To me, these sorts of supposedly hard hitting reporters hiding behind such a weak excuse when even I was shouting harder hitting questions at the screens of this administration, is unforgivable.

How does a strong religious faith and belief in the truth fit into the amount of time given to neocons and softball questions? How can the buddy, buddy style of super socializing and cronyism that is infused in the structure of things these days, uncover any hard truths at all?

The Sunday shows how the usual suspect pundits are trotted out to comment on any little political issue, is almost like performance art when viewed from above...right Tim?

So, today the pile-on continues. If there is a God, she has dislodged a pretty important cog in the wheel of disinformation, but unfortunately, as is evident from the parade of usual suspects, it's just gonna fill in, like so many footprints in the tide line of Nantucket, where these guys seem to spend an inordinate amount quality time together reinforcing their shared reality and access.

Y'know, I've got a 98-year-old grandfather who is very sharp mentally and wakes every morning with a certain fix on reality; you can't fight the numbers, as he says. There is something to be said for all the different ways that people go, and maybe its presumptive to critique one or another, but there is something to be said for the quick and clean end. Most of what goes on around death in this country is for the comfort of the living, and we seem to be largely unable to deal with the realities of aging, putting those who flame out young on a pedestal even if they were dysfunctional drug addicts. We respect our old guard as long as they look like themselves when they toddle out to read from a teleprompter, but we don't want to see the messy part; not at all.

I suppose that Tim could have ended up as a veritable McLaughlin in retirement, bungling through a half hour round table like a crazy old uncle, (and I say that fondly because I like the wacky McLaughlin show as the sun room in the old age home), but then he wouldn't be able to go out at the top of his game, with a dry erase board in his hand and all the cronies parading past.

The only thing that makes me crazy, as someone who is usually acutely aware that anything could happen at any time, is that he shoulda been able to make it through the election...and if there IS a god, then the fact that he was taken out now could be a statement on the state of things.

And if there is nothing out there but ashes for guys like Timmy, then he didn't get to live to see the final ouster of the worst president who's disinformation campaign he gave a platform to more times than he might have if we weren't living in the atmosphere of spin and fear that was fostered largely thanks to him and these very luminaries... some of whom used to rail against this machine and who are now looking back through Vaseline on the lens.

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I'm a Brooklyn girl, living in the woods outside of NYC, with a 14 year old boy, his best friend (most of the time) who is also 14, a menagerie of animals, and chickens laying eggs outside! I am a liberal blogger and the president of a charitable (more...)
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The very public wake of Tim Russert reveals press cronyism

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