HT Image
HT Image

Influential NBC journalist Tim Russert dies

Tim Russert, who pointedly but politely questioned hundreds of the powerful and influential as one of America's most prominent U.S television journalists, died of a heart attack.
By HT Correspondent | AP, Washington
UPDATED ON JUN 14, 2008 03:26 PM IST

Tim Russert, who pointedly but politely questioned hundreds of the powerful and influential as one of America's most prominent U.S television journalists, died of a heart attack on Friday in the midst of a presidential campaign he had covered with trademark intensity.

Praise poured in from the biggest names in politics, some recalling their own meltdown moments on his hot seat. Russert, 58, was a political operative before he was a journalist. He joined NBC a quarter century ago and ended up as the longest-tenured host of the influential Sunday political talk show "Meet the Press."

He was an election-night fixture, with his whiteboard and scribbled figures, and was moderator for numerous political debates. He wrote two best-selling books, including the much-loved "Big Russ and Me" about his relationship with his father. He was NBC's Washington bureau chief.

President George W. Bush, informed of Russert's death while at dinner in Paris, saluted him as "a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it." NBC interrupted its regular programming with news of Russert's death and continued for several hours of coverage without commercial break. The network announced that Tom Brokaw, the former long-time anchor of NBC's nightly newscast, would anchor a special edition of "Meet the Press" on Sunday, dedicated to Russert. Competitors and friends jumped in with superlative praise and sad recognition of the loss of a key voice during a historic presidential election year. Known as a family man as well, he had been named Father of the Year by parenting organizations. Brian Williams, who currently anchors NBC's newscast, mourned his loss, calling him "aggressively unfancy."

Bob Schieffer, Russert's competitor on CBS' "Face the Nation," said the two men delighted in scooping each other. "When you slipped one past ol' Russert," he said, "you felt as though you had hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league. I just loved Tim and I will miss him more than I can say." NBC said Friday evening that Russert died of a heart attack. Russert's internist, Michael A. Newman, said cholesterol plaque had ruptured in an artery, causing sudden coronary thrombosis. Newman said an autopsy showed that Russert had an enlarged heart, NBC reported. Russert had been diagnosed with asymptomatic coronary artery disease, which he was controlling with medication and exercise, the doctor said.

Russert, of Buffalo, New York, took the helm of the Sunday news show in December 1991 and turned it into the most widely watched program of its type in the United States. His signature trait was an unrelenting style of questioning that made some politicians reluctant to appear, yet confident that they could claim extra credibility if they survived his grilling intact. "I can say from experience that joining Tim on "Meet the Press" was one of the greatest tests any public official could face," said Rep. John Boehner, the highest-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. "Regardless of party affiliation, he demanded that you be straight with him and with the American people who were watching."

Russert was also a senior vice president at NBC, and this year Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

He had Buffalo's blue-collar roots, a Jesuit education, a law degree and a Democratic pedigree that came from his turn as an aide to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. Lawmakers from both parties lined up to sing his praises after his sudden death.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said Russert was "the best in the business at keeping his interview subjects honest."

"There wasn't a better interviewer in television," Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential contender, told reporters in Ohio.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama's rival for the White House, hailed Russert as the "pre-eminent journalist of his generation."

Carl P. Leubsdorf, president of the Gridiron Club, an organization of journalists, said, "It was a measure of the degree to which Tim Russert was respected in the journalistic world that he was the first broadcaster elected to membership in the Gridiron Club after the rules were changed in 2004 to end our century-old restriction to print journalists."

Said longtime colleague Brokaw, the former NBC anchor: "He'll be missed as he was loved _ greatly."

The network said on its Web site that Russert had been recording voiceovers for this Sunday's "Meet The Press" when he was stricken.

He had dozens of honorary college degrees, and numerous professional awards.

He won an Emmy for his role in the coverage of President Ronald Reagan's funeral in 2004.

He was married to Maureen Orth, a writer for Vanity Fair magazine. The couple had one son, Luke.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
The chatroom gave men a platform to spend thousands of dollars to witness and demand the abuse of young girls and became the setting for the most notorious digital sex crime case in South Korea, reported CNN.(AFP)
The chatroom gave men a platform to spend thousands of dollars to witness and demand the abuse of young girls and became the setting for the most notorious digital sex crime case in South Korea, reported CNN.(AFP)

What made South Korea crack down on digital sex crimes?

Written by Prashasti Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 12:03 PM IST
In early 2020, new sentencing guidelines were introduced. These increased the prison sentence for producing and distributing sexually exploitative material of minors from 2.6 years to five years.
Close
During his election campaign, Biden, a Democrat, made tackling Covid-19 and the economic hardships it had put on Americans a core pitch to voters.(AP)
During his election campaign, Biden, a Democrat, made tackling Covid-19 and the economic hardships it had put on Americans a core pitch to voters.(AP)

Biden announces plan to vaccinate 100 mn Americans in his 1st 100 days in office

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 12:01 PM IST
The US is the worst-affected country in the world with more than 23,523,000 Covid-19 infections and 391,955 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus tracker.
Close
A Covid-19 patient, one of 12 to be transferred in a military airplane, is assisted by medical staff at the Ponta Pelada airport in Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on January 15, 2021, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.(AFP)
A Covid-19 patient, one of 12 to be transferred in a military airplane, is assisted by medical staff at the Ponta Pelada airport in Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on January 15, 2021, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.(AFP)

China says recent mainland Covid-19 outbreak caused by imported case: Report

Reuters, Shanghai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 11:34 AM IST
Broadcaster CCTV cited National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei as making the remarks at a government meeting.
Close
Wilmington:President-elect Joe Biden arrives to speak at an event at The Queen theater, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Wilmington.(AP)
Wilmington:President-elect Joe Biden arrives to speak at an event at The Queen theater, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Wilmington.(AP)

Joe Biden says we'll 'manage the hell' out of feds' Covid-19 response

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 11:10 AM IST
The real payoff, Biden said, will come from uniting the nation in a new effort grounded in science.
Close
President-elect Joe Biden adjusts his face mask as he departs an event at The Queen theatre in Wilmington.(AP)
President-elect Joe Biden adjusts his face mask as he departs an event at The Queen theatre in Wilmington.(AP)

Amazon, Uber among new corporate donors to Biden inauguration

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 10:22 AM IST
Other companies previously disclosed include Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Corp. Qualcomm Inc., Comcast Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Boeing Co., Anthem Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
Close
Michael Cohen arrives at his Manhattan apartment in New York after being furloughed from prison because of concerns over the coronavirus.(AP/ File photo)
Michael Cohen arrives at his Manhattan apartment in New York after being furloughed from prison because of concerns over the coronavirus.(AP/ File photo)

New York prosecutors interview Michael Cohen about Trump finances

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 10:13 AM IST
The New York investigation is one of several legal entanglements that are likely to intensify as Trump loses power — and any immunity from prosecution he might have as a sitting president — as he departs the White House.
Close
More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 people have been evacuated, the agency said.(via REUTERS)
More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 people have been evacuated, the agency said.(via REUTERS)

Aftershock rocks Indonesia quake zone as search continues

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 10:01 AM IST
Agency head Doni Monardo told Kompas TV the search continued for victims who could still be trapped under rubble.
Close
FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One to depart Washington on travel to visit the US-Mexico border Wall in Texas, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, US.(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One to depart Washington on travel to visit the US-Mexico border Wall in Texas, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, US.(REUTERS)

Trump will leave White House before Biden inauguration, may go to his golf club

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 09:23 AM IST
Donald Trump will be the first president in a century and a half to snub the inauguration of his successor.
Close
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps his hands at the ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP)
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps his hands at the ruling party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP)

Kim Jong Un’s new missile could be an attempt to get Joe Biden's attention

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 09:07 AM IST
The next step is for him to fire them into the air to get President-elect Joe Biden’s attention.
Close
People react (left) as the body of a relative is retrieved from the rubble of a building in Mamuju, West Sulawesi; residents inspect (right) damaged buildings in Mamuju.(AP)
People react (left) as the body of a relative is retrieved from the rubble of a building in Mamuju, West Sulawesi; residents inspect (right) damaged buildings in Mamuju.(AP)

Midnight quake kills 42 in Indonesia

AP, Mamuju
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:54 AM IST
More than 600 people were injured by the magnitude 6.2 quake, which sent people fleeing their homes in the darkness on Friday. Authorities were still collecting information about the full scale of casualties and damage in the affected areas.
Close
A destroyed building is pictured following an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia January 15, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media. Palang Merah Indonesia/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. REFILE - CORRECTING YEAR(via REUTERS)
A destroyed building is pictured following an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia January 15, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media. Palang Merah Indonesia/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. REFILE - CORRECTING YEAR(via REUTERS)

Damaged roads, lack of gear hinder Indonesia quake rescue

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:51 AM IST
Operations were focused on about 10 locations in the hardest-hit city of Mamuju, where people are still believed trapped following Friday's nighttime quake, said Saidar Rahmanjaya, who heads the local search and rescue agency.
Close
A Covid-19 patient, one of 12 to be transferred in a military airplane, is assisted by medical staff at the Ponta Pelada airport in Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on January 15, 2021, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.(AFP)
A Covid-19 patient, one of 12 to be transferred in a military airplane, is assisted by medical staff at the Ponta Pelada airport in Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, on January 15, 2021, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.(AFP)

How we got to two million Covid-19 deaths

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:41 AM IST
On April 2 more than 3.9 billion people -- half of the world's population -- were forced or called on to confine themselves, according to an AFP count. The same day the threshold of one million cases is crossed.
Close
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said US was also increasing the scope of metals-related sanctions against Iran administered by the State Department.(Reuters)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said US was also increasing the scope of metals-related sanctions against Iran administered by the State Department.(Reuters)

US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran in final days of Trump presidency

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:31 AM IST
During his four years in office, Trump has tried to force Tehran back into talks over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its activities in the Middle East.
Close
The experts issued a series of recommendations, which WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accepted and sent to the U.N. agency's 194 member states, a statement said.
The experts issued a series of recommendations, which WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accepted and sent to the U.N. agency's 194 member states, a statement said.

WHO stops short of advising proof of Covid-19 shots for travel

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:20 AM IST
The WHO's Emergency Committee, composed of 19 independent experts, held its sixth meeting in a year as the global death toll from the pandemic reached two million among more than 90 million cases.
Close
This combination of photos shows various podcasts, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Major social platforms have been cracking down on the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. But Apple and Google, among others, have left open a major loophole: Podcasts. (AP Photo/David Hamilton)(AP)
This combination of photos shows various podcasts, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Major social platforms have been cracking down on the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. But Apple and Google, among others, have left open a major loophole: Podcasts. (AP Photo/David Hamilton)(AP)

Post US Capitol riots, Podcasts help extremists get their message out

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:04 AM IST
Podcasting “plays a particularly outsized role” in propagating white supremacy, said a 2018 report from the Anti-Defamation League. Podcasting lets extremists expound on their ideas for hours at a time, said Oren Segal of ADL’s Center on Extremism.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP