I'm glad Russert is gone, never to return. All I know about this man is what I could observe on TV, and it was revolting. He was one of the people who enabled the hunting of President Clinton, eagerly helped take down Al Gore, and urged our nation into a criminal and unjustifiable war against Iraq.
Based on what we saw first-hand, we would guess that Brother Russert really was the nicest guy in the world.
Sometimes, though, “nicest guys in the world” are the last to challenge conventional wisdom—even when it desperately needs to be challenged, examined, hollered about. In Tim’s case, we think he showed poor judgment in various instances over the years, as we’re all inclined to do. Chris Matthews touched on one possible error in judgment in his comments from Paris on Friday’s Countdown (text below). For once, we think Chris’ lack of impulse control served the public understanding—although he’s getting beaten up for his comment at various spots on the web.
Over the weekend, other members of the mainstream press corps did the thing that comes natural inside their group; they went on the air and told Group Tales, tales which reflected quite wondrously on Tim’s journalistic work—and, of course, by extension, most importantly, on them. Telling the truth is pretty much the last thing that enters these people’s heads. And so, they handed out novelized tales about Tim’s always brilliant work—failing to make the slightest attempt to be balanced, objective or truthful.
For the record, we’re talking about the way they described Tim’s work—not the way they described his decency as a person, a person they loved.
This isn’t really the week for such topics, though Tim’s death—more precisely, the torrent of industry propaganda it unleashed—demands that such topics be discussed. We’ll plan to look at some of those issues next week. In the meantime, we’ll suggest that you ponder a real possibility: The possibility that a guy who showed a fair amount of bad judgment—as we all do—may also have been the nicest guy in the world, just as you’ve seen him described.
Whether he was "a nice guy" doesn't matter to me. What matters is the harm he inflicted upon this nation. Being nice in a private context does not counterbalance the violence he did to the world we have in common.