Remembering Tim Russert, 5 Years After His Death

By Chris Ariens 

“Meet the Press” executive producer Betsy Fischer Martin remembers Tim Russert, five years after his death.

Russert, who was NBC’s Washington Bureau chief and who had moderated “Meet the Press” for 17 years — longer than anyone else — died of a massive heart attack on June 13, 2008 as he was preparing for that Sunday’s show in the Washington Bureau. In an excerpt that is part of an upcoming “Meet the Press” ebook, Fischer Martin writes:

The large sign in front of his desk read “Thou Shalt Not Whine” and he meant it. As the Washington Bureau Chief, he expected hard work from those around him because he worked hard as well. By 9am in the morning, he’d already have read five or six newspapers and made several rounds of phone calls Capitol Hill and the White House. But he always wanted to know more. Often times his first words to me each morning were, “What do you know?”

Tim, of course, was a human being with faults like the rest of us. But he had a strong sense of right and wrong, and what was fair and unfair. He was deeply loyal to those close to him. Even if I would make a mistake or something would go wrong, we’d talk about it and he’d end the conversation by saying, “onward and upward.” It was his way of saying, ‘learn from this, don’t dwell on it and know I am on your side.’