I was so sad to hear about the death of Tim Russert today. He was such an exceptional person. I watched Meet The Press almost every Sunday and what I loved most about him was his gentle nature. Even though he was on the air every single week you never knew his politics. He never had an agenda. He treated all with respect and although he might ask the tough questions, you knew that it was because he was incredibly smart and well prepared. Two of the words which I heard describe him today that sum him up the most in my mind were broadminded and objective. I always trusted him to be fair and to get the information that I was interested in. And to deliver it to me in an unbiased way so that I could make my own mind up.
Not only was he the host of his 2 shows, the author of 2 best selling books and a frequent news correspondent and moderator of political debates, but he was also the NBC News Washington Bureau Chief. I knew all of that, but until today never really understood what that meant. He was the ‘senior vice president and head of NBC’s Washington operations, orchestrating all of the network’s coverage of government and political news’. Someone reported today how unusual that is now and that networks don’t really let it happen anymore. The term ‘player-coach’ was also used several times today. A player-coach, in sports, 'is a member of a sports team who simultaneously holds both playing and coaching duties'. He was said to be his ‘teams’ mentor and boss in addition to being ‘in the trenches with them every day’.
Listening to the footage of his friends at NBC you get a real picture of him as a person. He was such a family man and such a good friend to all those around. Person after person were telling stories of how his family and his Catholic faith were everything to him. They told of how if his son would call he would drop everything to talk to him. And they told about how he would be the first to call and ask you how your mother was doing or to congratulate you on your new baby. One person told of how genuine he was and that he listened and asked questions to the things that he WANTED to actually know the answer to.
As Andrea Mitchell said today, 'his death is a definite blow to America’ and I couldn’t agree more. He will not only be missed by his family and friends and those who knew him personally, but he will also be genuinely missed by people all over the country like me.