Too Much Respect

What’s being done is totally out of proportion with his societal impact.

It is sad Tim Russert died. It was a shock. Maybe, since he was only a few months older than me, it’s also scary. I just don’t understand the volume of coverage.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful nor do I wish to diminish his accomplishments as a journalist, but what’s being done is totally out of proportion with his societal impact.

14 thoughts on “Too Much Respect”

  1. Hi Geoff,

    I was thinking the same thing but did not have the guts to post it. I’m glad you did. There are people in this world who have done greater things with their lives and don’t get more than a two sentence blurb.

    Keep up the great blog. I read everyday!


  2. Geoff: You are giving voice to what a lot of people are thinking. A tribute on Meet the Press was appropriate, everything else, primetime special and most of Saturday’s Today Show not to mention Brian Williams on Friday was way over the top.

  3. Geoff,

    Before I start getting hate email for my above view, I would like to clarify why I feel this way.

    I went to the funeral last week for a dear friend of my parents that I have known my whole life. (43 years) He was a WWII veteran. He served in the navy at not only Normandy, but Iwo Jima, Okinawa and in the pacific. Now isn’t that a person we should be praising. And before people also think I am some right wing pro war idiot. I was and am still not in favor of the war in Iraq.

  4. Clearly we would feel like our friends and family should be lauded as much, if not more, than a celebrity in times of celebration and in death. However, most of our friend & family are not world-renowned figures. Tim Russert held the anchor position on Meet the Press for nearly 17 years, was NBC Washingon Bureau chief, and was a best-selling author. If the nightly news was designated to sing the praises of every death, we’d never get to hear about Britney’s latest falling-down, a subject that apparently fuels what little fire TV has still burning.

    Tim Russert was more than the standard political hack, talking head that is forced down our throats 24 hours a day. He was a personable, down-to-earth guy who didn’t shout his extremist political views at the camera…he might have been the only one in that category. His death was a complete shock, and it at least deserves a couple days of coverage, rememberance, and most of all, respect. I realize that no one here is suggesting that he get no respect, but I don’t see the issue with the amount of coverage his death has garnered.

    In a day and age where respect is generally forgotten, and when it does come out of hiding it is applied to pop, movie, and sports stars, it was nice to see the media honor someone who actually had a 3-digit IQ…

  5. John,

    We will have to agree to disagree. I am not suggesting every man, woman and child that dies should be given their 5 minutes of fame. The man I am referring to was at some of the most horrific battles ever to save our country. He came home from war, married his sweet heart, raised terrific kids, stayed married for 60 years and died in his chair at 81. To me he is a hero, and Tim , although he had a 3 digit IQ, and a great resume’ wasn’t. Sorry, That’s how I feel.

    Geoff, Sorry for the rant. I will now revert back to lurking.

  6. Geoff,

    I am usually very entertained by your blog, especially its name!! I, like many others , can relate. BUT–isn’t there always a BUT when there is some disagreement?

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion about the Tim Russert coverage. But I feel that there has to be some context to the entire coverage thing. First of all Russert was not someone destined for greatness; he made his own greatness happen. Russert was an everyman with a swagger and a sweetness about him. He also “enjoyed” something that most of us never have; public friends in one of the mightiest broadcast giants in the USA, NBC-Universal as well as at every other broadcast network. His friends are people who we all know. Presidents, sports figures entertainers, fellow journalists, etc. His stardom, because of his ubiquitous appearances all over NBC during election time and especially on MEET THE PRESS, is a given. It is no wonder with the vast broadcast facilities of NBC TV and MSNBC on the internet, that he has many friends from all over the media that his sudden, shocking death would receive the immense attention that it did.

    I lost my dad when he was 58 years old as well. At that age there are numerous, friends, business associates and family members who are no more or less shocked or no more or less important than are the huge number of citizens and superstars who knew and loved Tim Russert. Tim Russert was a very public figure and thus the incredible and, in my opinion, well justified coverage. For a person known all over this country it was more than appropriate.

  7. Lori –

    Tim was a spokesperson for men like the one you refer to in you latest post as well as a political commentator. His book was based on a man exactly like the man you refer to and has brought their lives to the attention of many who’ve forgotten what they sacrificed for our country without asking for anything in return.

    If those who feel there was to much coverage…change the channel.

  8. Lori,

    I don’t completely disagree with you. My grandfather was a WWII Vet as well, and I agree that they deserved more praise than they received upon their deaths. But famous people get more attention, in life and in death, than “real” people. I just feel like if that axiom is unchangeable, then Tim Russert is one of the few famous people who were “real” enough to garner this much attention. My father was a local firefighting hero, but when he died of cancer at age 58, no one from the media covered the story. When Paul Newman dies from the same disease in the coming months, we’ll hear about him non-stop for days on end. Paul Newman pretended for a living; he never saved anybody. Unfortunately, it is what it is…

  9. this is what it took to supplant the usual msnbc weekend lineup of countless documentaries about prison life and pedophiles.

  10. Thank you all for your comments.

    One of the luxuries of having a blog is being able to see how my own feelings jibe with those of others. However, I was a little sheepish before I posted this entry.

    Again, I want to make sure everyone understands, I think he was a fine and accomplished man who was excellent at what he did and, in performing his job, brought great value to our nation. My only question is, was the amount of coverage out-of-proportion with what other, similarly accomplished people in the public eye, would receive?

  11. I think the coverage WAS out of proportion, as you suggest.

    As for the comment above regarding Paul Newman…I wish him continued health and hope that they day we are hearing of his demise is far off in the future, but when that day comes, I hope he will be remembered as a not only a great actor, but a wonderful man. A man who not only “pretended for a living” as John put it, but one who gave many sick children happy times at his Hole in the Wall Gang Camps and whose Newman’s Own brand gave millions upon millions to charity over the years. None of which would have happened if he hadn’t become a successful “pretender”.

  12. Good grief – no. As my friends will tell you, I don’t treat success as a zero sum game. I am always happy, often proud, when others do well.

    It was proper to respect Tim Russert’s life and celebrate it. I just felt the volume of coverage was a little much. I also feel Russert, had he seen CBS’s full page ad in the today’s Times, would have been flattered, but would have rather the money be spent in not laying off any more reporters.


    I sent an email to the previous commenter saying I appreciated his comment, event though we disagree. I got back:

    Technical details of permanent failure:

    PERM_FAILURE: Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 554 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn’t have a account

    So, to those at Central Mechanical Contractors, where the post originated, thanks. I understand not everyone has the cajones to stand behind their words.

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