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View Diary: Tim Russert - A Good Man but Biased Journalist (132 comments)

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  •  It's a tough call as to the proper time (7+ / 0-)

    for criticizing Russert's journalistic career.

    On the one hand, it's obvious that he was a good man on the micro human level, and his loss is being felt deeply by large numbers of people who worked or interacted with him in various ways. His reverence for his father is very touching and speaks volumes about him as a human being.

    On the other hand, we are faced with an unjustified canonization of him as a journalist. When is the proper time to set the record straight?? Is it now, when there is so much discussion of his performance as a journalist or is there some kind of a waiting period??? I kind of come down on the side that some truth needs to be injected into the public discussion of his career as a journalist now as I doubt that the public will be much interested in his career and what it means once the period of public mourning has run its course.

    As the diarist has pointed out, Russert played the game and was not a journalist in the old-time sense of the word. There is much raw material that shows biased reporting and spin in favor of the Republican agenda. I attribute that to the corporate take over of the media more than anything else.

    One of the most startling stories of corporate corruption of the media is the story of Jack Welch (former head of GE and corporatist if ever there was one) personally negotiating Tim's employment contract with NBC. To do that, Welch obliterated the normal chain of command (Tim's contract should have been handled at the NBC level) and removed the semblance of any barriers between corporate interests and the public's interest on honest reporting. At that point, GE became Tim's master and the rest is history . . .

    I suspect that this story of Welch's intervention in news operations is but a microcosm of what has occurred throughout the corporate media in recent years - where the top media guys are directly controlled by the corporate guys and understand who butters their bread and how to please the powers-that-be. Long ago, there was not such a blurring of the lines and the network news divisions operated with independence and autonomy (see Walter Cronkite). Those days are long gone, which is why we see the flawed journalism of a Tim Russert (and all the other TV journalists whom we saw perform so abysmally in the debates during this election cycle).  I seriously doubt that we will ever the restoration of the media to its proper place in society as news divisions have become little more than extensions of large corporate interests.

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