A common complaint about the media is that they are too enamored with themselves, and they will use any opportunity to navel-gaze. Tim Russert’s death by heart attack on Friday provided one of those opportunities, and the coverage continues even in today’s papers. In this case, the coverage is not unwarranted: Russert died suddenly on the job and was one of the biggest names in political journalism.
There is still news, as yesterday marked the first episode of Meet The Press after his passing, and the Daily News offers a recap of the program on page 4, along with photos of a grieving Mary Matalin and James Carville during the taping. Another photo on the page is of Luke Russert, Tim’s son, touching his father’s empty chair on the set of Meet The Press. Depending on your viewpoint, this could be seen as an emotional, touching moment or something a little more exploitative. So much of Russert’s passing has played out in public, and there’s something about this photo that makes it seem as if the reader is intruding on a personal, heartbreaking moment. The juxtaposition of column by Richard Huff on potential replacements for Russert seems somewhat callous. To be fair, Huff does acknowledge that the transition is awkward and that the network is still grieving.
The Post, meanwhile, features a eulogy for Russert by Senator Chuck Schumer on page 8. Schumer reminisces about Russert’s tenure working with Senator Patrick Moynihan and Governor Mario Cuomo, the time before he was a journalist. The paper also reports that Schumer, Senator Hillary Clinton and Representative Brian Higgins will introduce a resolution today to have the road to the Buffalo Bills’ stadium named for Russert, who was a rabid fan of the team and would frequently sign off with “Go Bills!”
This is not the last we’ll hear about Russert this week. The Times reports that a public memorial will be held for him tomorrow in Washington, D.C., and that a private funeral and burial will take place on Wednesday, along with a private memorial service at the Kennedy Center that will be broadcast on MSNBC.