But the real news came when Russert asked Obama about comments Harry Belafonte made about George Bush being a terrorist. It turns out the only other person Russert ever asked about Belafonte’s remarks was…Colin Powell. Gotta keep up with what the brothers are thinkin’, eh Timmy?Russert also specialized in the gotcha game, often digging up trivia to confound guests with. Sorry, I just never liked that sort of thing.
And as long as I’m raining on the Russet parade, I cringed when I saw this in the SJ-R about Russert’s “contribution” to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
I had forgotten that it was Russert that appeared in that video. Not that I blame Russert for that piece of crap, he did his part just fine, it was the whole idea that was dumb. And to Russert’s credit he resisted doing it, probably realizing just how stupid it was. Here was my review of the display right after the museum opened in 2005:
The thing I liked least was the mock TV control room showing a fake news show hosted by real news guy Tim Russert. Russert was, not very convincingly, tryingLike I said, this wasn't really Russert's bad, but I bet he had wished he had stuck with his instincts and not done it.
to portray the 1860 election on modern television terms. It was complete with modern looking TV political ads. I just wasn’t buying it. Introducing television in to the past like that just doesn’t feel right. We have Russert speaking and dressed for 2005 with pictures of Lincoln as he was in 1860. It just doesn’t work. Lose it and use the space for something else.
Update: As Nancy correctly points out in comments, much of the praise for Russert over the weekend included pronouncements that he didn't practice "gotcha" journalism. Hmmm. Try Googling "Russert Gotcha" and see what happens.
And to be clear, I definitely think Russert had great talent. I very much enjoyed watching him do election coverage. I just don't think he walked on journalistic water.