Tim Russert, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, has long been considered one of the toughest and most competent interviewers on televison. But then came Arianna Huffington, taking him to task (not always without merit, either) each week for what she saw as grillings that leave the subject only half-baked.
Now, Jesse Kornbluth (writing for FishbowlDC’s mothership — Mediabistro) throws his hat in the ring, first calling MTP “something of an infomercial for the White House” and then providing an almost Maureen Dowd-ian couch analysis of why Russert falls short each Sunday morning.
It all comes down to crying and empathy, says Kornbluth and he uses the recent appearances by Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard as his primary example.
“My problem with what Tim Russert tried to do to Aaron Broussard is not that heâ€™d never raise the bar so high for an Administration official. Itâ€™s that he canâ€™t feel–for anyone.
An interview canâ€™t take anyone to a place he won’t go himself. And it’s not simple to go to those places. Therapy, meditation, solitutde, a good relationship–these all help. But just as nutrition is barely taught in nursery school, empathy is rarely mentioned in the training of journalists. And so one of the greatest techniques of the trade remains an open secret: In private, real men always cry.”