"There's not a Red America, or a Blue America, there's the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." ---Barack Obama, 2004

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Will the next Tim Russert please stand up!

With less than two months left until the election, it's beginning to take shape on how badly we need good reporting to hold politicians seeking office accountable.

That fact hit home as I was watching Meet the Press this morning as Tom Brokaw interviewed the Dem. Veep hopeful Joe Biden.

Brokaw is standing in for Russert this political season as, sadly, he passed away earlier this year right after the primaries.

His absence leaves a horrific gap --- on many levels --- in the journalist community...just when he's desperately needed.

Russert was the one guy in the news media with the reputation and ability to gracefully hold an interviewee's feet to the fire and expose them if they don't know their stuff.

A classic example was his interview with white supremacist David Duke in 1991, when he was running for governor...when Russert asked Duke who the top 3 employers in the State of Louisiana were, he couldn't respond because he didn't know. It's universally agreed that this exposure outed Duke and was the main driver in him losing the election.

Now it seems like another David Duke type has emerged with Sarah Palin. Who will step to the plate and hold her feet to the fire?

First she has to agree to do interviews...REAL interviews. Not some People magazine photo shoot or laid back chat with the candy store owner down the street. In order for Palin to be taken for real, she needs to appear on Meet the Press...but will the interview be as effective as if Russert was conducting it?

This is now the question: will Brokaw conduct an interview with effective, pointed questions? That is, assuming the interview happens at all...if not, someone else is going to have to step in.

The journalist community needs to channel the spirit of Tim Russert, or we could be facing some dire consequences. S

No comments: