“Reliable Sources” Knocks Russert Coverage

From yesterday’s show on CNN:

DEBRA SAUNDERS, “SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE”: Well, they made the TV news people look — it was incestuous. They kept talking about what great friends Tim Russert was with a number of news people.

They had David Axelrod from the Obama campaign talking about what great buds they were. This, after a lot of Hillary Clinton people thought that Russert was too cozy with them.

MSNBC started off the Kennedy Center thing talking about the elites in politics. Readers said to me they felt like they are watching the Academy Awards.

And I’m a Tim Russert fan. I thought he was a great journalist, but this coverage, you know, there’s something about cable news where we do one story and we just overdo it. And that’s — that was the impression I got of the coverage of Tim Russert. …

STEVE FRIEDMAN, NETWORK PRODUCER: Well, sure. When anybody dies young and too quickly, as Tim did, there’s a tendency for everybody to go out and say what a great guy he was. This case, it happened to be true. Tim was a great guy, and he sort of would have laughed at some of this coverage.

But fact of the matter is, the reason to have a cable news operation sometimes is to do what you want. And at MSNBC they did what they want. …

GAIL SHISTER, “THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER”: Anyway, I think there’s a difference between reverence and canonization. And I, too, was a big Tim Russert fan. And as a matter of fact, we’re both from Buffalo, and so we had a very big Buffalo connection.

I think it got to the point of critical mass by about Wednesday. And it did — as Debra said, it was incestuous. It’s different when it’s a death in the family.

I give a big pass to NBC in that regard, but it got to the point where the repetitiveness got to be excruciating. If we heard one more time about what a great guy he was and salt of the earth and upheld the cannons of journalism, I think Tim Russert would have been laughing. I think he would have been embarrassed by how far they went.