Through The Static

June 16, 2008

Tribute to Tim Russert

Filed under: Media,Politics — ausaydong @ 3:53 pm

I know everyone may be suffering from news fatigue with all the coverage surrounding Tim Russert’s death last week, but this column in the USA Today from Russert’s previous boss– Michael Gartner — particularly touched me:

A few years ago, I called him and asked if he’d make a big speech in Des Moines, where I live. It was part of a lecture series at Drake University. I knew he was in great demand, I said, but I asked if he’d do it as a favor for me. “They’ll pay you $30,000,” I added. He didn’t think twice. “I’ll do it under one condition,” he said. “The $30,000 goes to that program for kids that is Christopher’s memorial.”

Christopher was one of my sons, and he idolized Tim. Christopher died in 1994, at age 17, from an initial attack of juvenile diabetes. I had left NBC by then, but within hours of Christopher’s death the phone rang at home in Des Moines. It was Russert. I was in tears, and he seemed to be, too. He expressed his deep sorrow, and then he said:

“Look, if God had come to you 17 years ago and said, ‘I’ll make you a bargain. I’ll give you a beautiful, wonderful, happy and healthy kid for 17 years, and then I’ll take him away, you would have made that deal in a second.”

He was right, of course, that was the deal. I just didn’t know it.

As it turns out, there was a similar deal – the terms were 58 years – with Tim.

We just didn’t know it

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2 Comments »

  1. I hardly know anything Russert, I think I’ve just seen him on TV a few times, but that’s cool when someone’s a genuinely nice person off camera. (You hear that O’Reilly?)

    Comment by disciplepete — June 16, 2008 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  2. This is such a tragedy.

    Clearly, the wall-to-wall coverage of a reporter’s passing indicates that we should cancel the elections this year. This is more tragic than 9/11 or the Holocaust.

    With such a tragedy, who can possibly care about the thousands in peril due to bad weather in the Midwest and South, and who can possibly focus on such minor issues like the hundreds that are killed on a weekly basis in Afghanistan and Iraq?

    Please, MSNBC, just turn into the all Russert all the time network. Can we maybe get a one week retrospective on his passing, with monthly updates on how his cemetery plot grass changes in length with the seasons?

    Comment by loomisnews — June 18, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | Reply


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