Some consider “broadcast journalism” an oxymoron, but Tim Russert defied that derisive view. He was the ultimate newsman. In these days of stream-of-conscsiousness blogging masquerading as news, Russert stood out as a relentlessly prepared and fearless journalist, an objective reporter who had no other agenda than to get the truth out of politicians and other Washington power brokers. But as colleagues and friends noted in the many tributes pouring in since his sudden and unexpected death yesterday at age 58, he didn’t have a mean bone in his body.
As someone who always believed in the ideals of journalism, the art of interviewing, and the thrill of pursuing a hot story, I loved watching Russert perform his craft. He was a true master, and both journalism and politics will be much worse off without him.