NBC newsman Tim Russert died of a massive heart attack on Friday and, ever since his untimely death at age 58, MSNBC has been “All Tim’s Death, All The Time.” We all loved Tim, but enough is enough.
As I previously wrote in — Private Life, Public Death: The Perils of Inappropriate Veneration — when the famous are celebrated more in their deaths than they deserved in their lives, we become suspicious.
The never-ending coverage of Russert’s death on MSNBC, now in its fourth day, has moved from touching memory and into vulgar memento.
When a media person dies, that death is given fuller value and ongoing coverage than “ordinary” people that die… like firefighters, soldiers and cops… and it isn’t right and it shouldn’t be tolerated. Fame alone doesn’t make one life more valuable than another.
Why is Tim Russert’s death more important than any other death over the last four days?
Did MSNBC have nothing else to report other than “Tim is still dead and we all still miss him.”
MSNBC became a sick joke over the weekend — and that poisonous laughter is carrying over into today.
How many times do we have to hear from Russert’s co-workers about what a great guy he was and how wonderful he was as a boss? Once is enough. We certainly don’t need that told and re-told for four days because it looks like NBC is trying too hard to convince us of something that requires a mega-media browbeating instead of simple solitude.
Having four solid days of “how to recognize a heart attack and live to tell about it” would’ve been a better service for the rest of us that might have actually done some good. The “Russert is Dead” breast-thumping by the NCB staff merely made Tim less likable to the rest of us.
Incredibly, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell said this morning on air that “Tim was like a parish priest…”
I can’t help but believe that Tim Russert, if he were alive today, would be furiously insulted to be likened to a “parish priest” because he was a good and faithful Catholic, and to be falsely promoted to a status that wasn’t earned or vetted would not have been tolerated.
I guess when you run out of real things to say about a dead guy, you start making things up to help make him more than he was — or more than ever wanted to be — in real life.
I’m sure MSNBC will soon provide expert analysis verifying for us just how “Christ-like” Tim was in his salvation of the network news.
The rumor — that I’m starting here today, inspired by NBC’s maudlin celebration — of Tim turning a cup of Pepsi and a single Fritos corn chip into wine and bread to feed a late-working, but hard-working and ravenous, news staff… will probably be the focus of an upcoming “NBC Dateline” special.
As a real newsman, I’m sure Tim Russert would’ve killed this celebration of himself an hour after the news of his demise as passed and, for that reason alone, I miss the guy.