Reader Harold R. wrote this following the Bill Moyers doc:
For some reason, no one seems to have ever dug into Tim [Russert’s] credentials as a journalist. He was employed by Senator Moynihan at one time, but never, as far as I’ve been able to determine, worked as a reporter or journalist. Yet, through some mysterious machinations of fate, he has risen to be chief of NBC’s Washington news bureau.
How did someone with no discernible record of accomplishment in journalism rise to such a high level? Has he ever written a news story or covered a beat or authored an op-ed on a current event? All he has to his credit is a book about his father. (Some of my fellow Buffalonians tell me that the name “Big Russ” was coined just for the book, and that the elder Russert was never known by that name prior to that time.)
“Meet the Press” has departed completely from the format of its early days, when public personages faced questions from a panel of journalists, and actually did meet the members of the press. Nowadays, the program guests face questions (often of questionable merit) from only Mr. Russert, which suggests that the program should more accurately be renamed “Meet Tim Russert.”
The Moyers program last night exposed the shoddy work of many people who are falsely exalted as journalists — and Tim Russert is certainly a conspicuous member of that cohort.
I hadn't really thought about it, but it would have been much more difficult for Shooter & Co. to control message on Meet the Press in its salad days. Granted Father Tim would be unlikely, even under the old format, to assemble a group of "journalists" that wouldn't be buggered by the presence of some chucklehead like Jon Meacham, but at least it wouldn't have devolved into a weekly exercise whereby Timmeh fawns over Republicans and plays "gotcha" with Democrats. There formely was some pretext to journalism — combine Russert's role as sole inquisitor with his lack of professional acumen and his obvious conservative (or at least pro-establishment) leanings and it really is a measure of how far the network standard for "journalism" has devolved.