Friday, June 13, 2008

Edward R. Murrow to Tim Russert

The outpouring of grief over Tim Russert's untimely death today, at age 58, shows both the high esteem and affection that Americans hold for television journalists who protect our interests as untiring champions of the First Amendment.

When Thomas Jefferson and our Founding Fathers made the press the crucial guardians of our government - the watchdogs whose job it was to report to the American people what their government was really up to - Jefferson must have the likes of Tim Russert, and his unceasing speaking of truth to power, in mind.

He was not only the moderator of Meet the Press since 1991 - by far the most memorable - but he was NBC News' Washington Bureau Chief. He was one of the few who spanned traditional network and cable news, with his CNBC/MSNBC interview show. And he made a great guest appearance on Homicide: Life On Street, playing himself as character Lt. Megan Russert's cousin.

There are less than a handful of television reporters and anchors who in their different ways defined their genre and their age. Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite (who is still with us), and Tim Russert.

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