RIP Tim Russert 1950-2008

Tim Russert 1950-2008I honestly don’t know where to begin.

Buffalo native Tim Russert, the host of NBC’s Meet The Press, died today at age 58.

Russert was a world renowned journalist who held one of the premier posts in the national media. The host of Meet the Press since 1991.

Tim Russert, who pointedly but politely questioned hundreds of the powerful and influential as moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” died suddenly Friday while preparing for his weekly broadcast. The network’s Washington bureau chief was 58.

In addition to his weekly program, Russert appeared on the network’s other news shows, was moderator for numerous political debates and wrote two best-selling books.

President Bush, informed of Russert’s death while at dinner in Paris, swiftly issued a statement of condolence that praised the NBC newsman as “an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it.”

NBC interrupted its regular programming with news of Russert’s death and continued for several hours of coverage without commercial break. The network announced that Tom Brokaw will anchor a special edition of “Meet the Press” on Sunday, dedicated to Russert.

Competitors and friends jumped in with superlative praise and sad recognition of the loss of a key voice during a historic presidential election year. Personally, Russert was a family man and a father figure to his colleagues. Parenting organizations several times had named him Father of the Year.

Tim was always there to speak kindly of Buffalo. In a Sports Illustrated article about Chris Drury done during the 2007 NHL Playoffs, Russert was quoted about the hope Drury brought.

“The Sabres and the Bills are the city,” says Tim Russert, Buffalo native and host of NBC’s Meet the Press. “They give it life.”

Russert, Mayor Brown, most anyone in town will say that Drury is the perfect Buffalo player, an embodiment of the city’s self-image: hardworking, self-sacrificing, down to earth. But Buffalonians, as MacDonald, who coached at nearby Niagara University, says, “can also feel sorry for themselves. Woe is me, Scott Norwood, Brett Hull, why does this always happen to us? Chris is the anti of that mentality. He never feels sorry for himself and his team. He doesn’t look in the past, no pity parties. Nope. Next play.”

That, of course, is what Buffalo is counting on. “This is it! Brother Drury is bringing us to the mountaintop!” Russert shouts. “There’s a sense of mission. He has proved he knows how to win championships and he is the leader.” Then he pauses.

“Let’s hope,” Russert says, his voice dropping almost to a whisper. “One time.”

Russert was a beloved member of the media. Just watch some of the news coverage about his passing. The stories of how his Buffalo upbringing made him who he was just reiterates what he meant to Buffalo’s image. He was a personable, down-to-earth guy who spoke to the common man. That’s what he knew. He knew us. Buffalo.

After the jump is an NFL Films special done about Buffalo a few years back. It’s Russert who really does the best job conveying what Buffalonians felt.

No one will ever come close to matching the good words for Buffalo that Russert shared with the world.

There are few people from Buffalo that leave and never come back. Russert left without really leaving. He always stayed in Buffalo and Buffalo stayed with him. The world will miss him, but it’s an understatement to say Buffalo will miss him too.

Thank you, Tim.

Go Bills.

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Posted on June 13, 2008, in Bills/NFL, Buffalo, Sabres/NHL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Pay tribute to the great Tim Russert at our non-profit, http://www.tributefund.org. We remember the inspiring men and women in our lives.

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