Friday, January 27, 2006

Russert Feels the Heat, Lashes Out at Arianna Huffington

Months before Open Letter to Tim Russert was launched in response to Russert's racially-tinged interview with Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington was on his case, peeling back the rotten layers of Meet the Press's onion, exposing the gutless GOP shill behind the "serious" journalist.

As Jane Hamsher tells us in a rather colorful post, Russert is cracking:
It's hard to imagine, but I don't think Father Tim thought twice about accepting a gig for which he normally charges $50,000 to $60,000 to give a speech on ethics in the media. We can assume his supporting cast has grown accustomed over the years to stifling their guffaws at his disproportional self-image and didn't tip him off to the absurdity factor. So he was no doubt surprised when Arianna pointed out the obvious: that the man who has done more than anyone to normalize wingnut eliminationist rhetoric in mainstream political discourse, who equipped himself with an inviolable set of principles when it meant covering for pedophilia fantasist Scooter Libby but whipped them off quicker than a pair of whore's panties when it came to Richard Clarke, who still has not explained his extremely dubious role in the whole CIA leak case but feels free to limbo around this awkward fact as he covers the story from week to week, might be a bit challenged giving a lecture on the ethics of anything but most especially the media.

It probably never occurred to him that the little wink-wink, nudge-nudge action with fellow bloviator James Carville last week over Carville's new XM radio sports show was inappropriate due to the fact that Timmeh's son is Carville's co-host and Russert was using precious NBC moments more aptly devoted to, say, the NSA leak case to push his kid's show without bothering to clue the audience in.

But it sure as hell jostled his gated community gravitas when someone pointed it out for him.
Big white bwana man went whimpering to Lloyd Grove at the New York Daily News this morning, resurrecting his rather phantasmagorical 1996 claim that Arianna hired a private detective to follow his wife around. An assertion for which he has no proof other than something he read in an Ed Rollins book (more reliable recitations can be found scratched into the walls of bus station bathrooms), but as a regular practitioner of fact-free journalism this is not a problem for Father Tim.


Blogger Brad said...

Does anyone even still watch this guy?

I mean, what's the point of watching the same old tired group of beltway insiders get together everyweek for a circle jerk?

Why any progressives chose to go on and play the role of 'pivot man' is beyond me.

6:14 AM  
Blogger dasboat said...

As Atrios points out, how does Timmeh explain the open shilling for the RNC? How does he explain the fact that his producers go out of their way to obtain and disseminate RNC talking points?

In the film we see RNC glee as AP accepts their oppo research on a Gore misstatement during the first debate . During their months of filming BBC producers also observed producers for NBC's Tim Russert among others calling to enquire if the team had any new material. This was apparently normal trading on both sides.

RNC researcher Griffin comments in the film: "It's an amazing thing when you have topline producers and reporters calling you and saying 'we trust you.... we need your stuff.'"

6:24 AM  
Blogger Mel's Missing Penis said...

Dear Tim,
Sorry you had to come out so hard fighting for us lately, but as you know we have been needing your help and will reimburse you later. Just remember, if we go down, you and our other paid shrills (Mathews, Couric, Lauer, etc. )will go down also.
Love always,

6:47 AM  
Blogger Zappatero said...

Tim Russert is the Washington DC Bureau Chief for NBC News Division.

This entire division has been corrupted by the CIA Agent prosecution and closeness to the Bush Administration:

- Russert was called by Scooter Libby to complain about Hardball.
- Chris Matthews was pressured by that Scooter Libby call. Chris Matthews was also called by Karl Rove and told Valerie Plame is "fair game."
- Andrea Mitchell has made many mistatements about the Scooter Libby and Valerie Plame situation, on Imus, on Hardball, and on NBC Nightly.


- Pete Williams, former employee of Dick Cheney at DoD, is allowed to report on Dick Cheney the VP.
- Brian Williams (no relation) has admitted his affinity for listening to Rush Limbaugh as an arbiter of public opinion.

Karl Rove played all of them for chumps. He played on their natural tendency to suck up, then zinged them with the Plame leak.

By those two facts, the entire DC Bureau of NBC News has been compromised - if not corrupted - by their unethical behavior and their inordinate symapthy with the Bush Administration.

NBC News used to be represented by the likes of John Chancellor, David Brinkley, and Tom Brokaw. None of them would have been dragged into this mess when they were at NBC. NBC News needs to clean house. Now.

6:57 AM  
Blogger J. P. said...

Tim Russert and Brian Williams are living examples of what happens when General Electric touches things with their slimy little hands. There is no journalism in existence at NBC or any of its affiliates save for Keith Olbermann, who they routinely leave out on the front porch to twist in the wind.

Is anyone really surprised that this kind of behavior emanates from employees of GE?

7:10 AM  
Blogger melior said...

Hey, here's an idea... why not invite someone to the panel who is intimately familiar with Russert's numerous ethical lapses, like Bob Somerby?

Nah, that would only make sense if they wanted to, you know, talk about media ethics instead of blow sunshine up each others' skirts.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Alvord said...

Did I hear right? At the end of his segment with Matt Lauer on the Today show, did Russert sign off by saying he would "do better" on Meet the Press?

7:49 AM  
Blogger Ben Brackley said...

Russert has an incredibly thin skin when it comes to any media criticism. Mario Cuomo told him he should never go into politics because of it. And Mario wasn't noted for having the thickest skin when it came to criticism, so you can imagine how thin Timmy's skin must be.

And Timmy has never answered the question of why he was reportedly wearing a Bush/Cheney button under his lapel when he accompanied Jack Welch to the Annual Al Smith Dinner in New York in 2000. Apparently, Tim mischievously lifted his lapel to flash the button from time to time during the event.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:09 AM  
Blogger shargash said...

The interesting question about Russert is whether he is deliberately manipulating the news for political and personal ends or whether he simply has an enormous ego that convinces him that whatever he does is righteous and just, simply because he does it. If it is the latter, there might be some hope of improvement in his dismal performance if he can rustle up a little self-criticism and self-knowledge. Either way, people need to keep relentlessly pointing out his misleading and false statements and his conflicts of interest and ethical lapses.

Keep up the good work, Arianna.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Ben Brackley said...

In 2000, I believe knew what Jack Welch wanted and helped it along. Tim was rewarded with a big contract renewal.

Until the last decade, I dismissed claims that corporate ownerships were significantly influencing television news coverage. I don't any longer.

In the case of GE and NBC, I have little doubt. One way to do this is through the appointment of a news director and the hiring decisions that are made.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Larakatt said...

Has anyone bought records of Timmy's phonecalls yet?

8:58 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

One minor complaint about Jane's post.

It does not make it clear that Tim Russert, *not* Richard Clarke is involved in Plamegate.

Clarke, for whatever faults, had the class to admit he personally failed to protect the American people and apologized.

Imagine *anyone* from Bushco doing that.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Captain G said...

Tim Russert should have his chin dusted for George Bush's ball prints, too, just as Fred Barnes is being asssked to do.

Seroiusly, Tim, do you not realize the voulme of people who are moving away from "Old Media" for the exact reasons shown here? YOU CAN'T CONTINUE TO SLANT THE STORIES WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES!

That dog not only don't hunt, it's gasping it's last breaths these days.

Remember, It's you on future you are besmirching, too.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Esoth said...

Tim the Enchanter! What a wuss, this little itty bitty Russ. Really. Puny.

10:31 AM  
Blogger FaulknA said...

Faulkna Tim! Say it ain't so!

1:59 PM  

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