Assessing the Tim Russert

By Chris Ariens 

TVNewser’s Gail Shister, along with Debra Saunders of the San Fransico Chronicle and former NBC & CBS News exec Steve Friendman all joined Howard Kurtz this morning on Reliable Sources to talk about the TV news coverage of Tim Russert‘s death and memorial service. Saunders thought the coverage was “incestuous.”

“MSNBC started off the Kennedy Center thing talking about the elites in politics. Readers said to me they felt like they were watching the Academy Awards,” Saunders said.

Friedman added, “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 the 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 wanted,” Friedman told Kurtz

Shister added, “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…I think it got to the point of critical mass by about Wednesday. And it did — as Debra said, it was incestuous.

I give a big pass to NBC in that regard, but it got to the point where the repetitiveness got to be excruciating,” Shister added.

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