Tim Russert : ‘Misspeaks’ Galore

The following story was written, with the intention of follow-up stories regarding Tim Russert. In all fairness to the very sad and very tragic passing of Mr. Russert on 13 June 2008, we ask readers to keep in mind that this article was critical of what we consider factual misspeaks that were repeated throughout the nomination process and not a critical review of his career or contributions, thereof.   We are deeply saddened by his passing. – 14 June 2008

– 4 May 2008, The Almost Daily Binx, San Jose, CA; by Binx101

As Though it Were

“… only asking the tough questions of the Bush administration when it wasn’t actually news worthy any more.”

Sunday mornings always used to include Meet the Press in our home, long before Russert came to town.  As a kid I started watching it when Lawrence Spivak* hosted it.  About a year ago, long into Russert’s tenure, we have opted to watch it occasionally but mostly not at all.  Today’s lure was Barack Obama.  We’ve watched sporadically in the recent past, but we’re likely to tune in when the show includes those that have distinguished themselves with public service.

MTP lost any value to my family when they lost their spine, their will to exist, their purpose.  We found that most indelibly represented when they began waving the flag and only asking the tough questions of the Bush administration when it wasn’t actually news worthy any more.  In fact, when everyone had caught their breath and worked out their story.

We believed that they were performing – theater, if you will, and we didn’t have the stomach to watch any longer.  We also sold some stocks that were advertising on the show after writing letters to the corporate giants that buoy the show with their institutional ads and not receiving a single reply.  It was the same experience we had with NBC News, so … we took our business elsewhere.  We actually go out of our way to not buy products that are featured on the show – sure – its absurd, but it makes us feel better.

* After publishing this story we learned that Lawrence Spivak passed away on 3 May 2008 – RIP

Russert and Many NBCers Makes Material Misstatements – Routinely

“… the continuous hum of inaccuracy and misleading statements …”

We will presumptively exonerate Rachel Maddow and David Shuster as a matter of principle. Today’s was the one though that gets us crazy.   He’s done it a number of times and some, not all, of his colleagues in the MSNBC cadre do the same thing.  He referred to Barack Obama as a candidate for President.

This is patently untrue.  It may be the wish of these alleged luminaries, but if any political science student made that statement in a paper – they would be looking at a failing grade.  Failing because it decries a greater misunderstanding of our system and its detail.  Something that Russert is allegedly an expert – or why else would he be Washington DC bureau chief.

Barack Obama is competing for the privilege of being the Democratic candidate.  He is not the candidate yet. Plain and simple.  Poly Sci 101. We feel very strongly that the continuous hum of inaccuracy and misleading statements, that sometimes are later edited or amplified, are an enormous disservice to the public good and if not for organizations such as Media Matters, we may never understand the rot in our electorate that these misstatements contribute.

We respectfully submit that as Americans we must demand something different of News Agencies as we do commentators.  This column is commentary.  Tim Russert is the Washington DC Bureau Chief for NBC News.  He should not be permitted ‘misspeaks’ without officially losing his authority to continue to make them.  While we aren’t suggesting a public whipping, we do highly recommend something that would protect the public, no less than a department of health warning on a eatery with one too many cockroaches.


MSNBC: Dumming Down Dem Debates

by Binx101 – San Jose, CA-27 Feb 08 – http://www.binx101.wordpress.com

MSNBC - Debate - Clinton_Obama

Brian Williams and Tim Russert presided over, what is hopefully, the last debate for a while. Far be it from us to discount the value of watching potential Presidents debating in action; however, the questions developed by the moderators were derived entirely from the campaign rhetoric without any probative value.Obama_Clinton If one follows the campaigns, one already knew the nominees responses. So? what was the point? Was it to see how well they would do their lines? With all due respect – crazy Uncle Nunzio could have come up with the same questions. Here’s some we heard last night:

“Eh, how about the picture in his pajamas !!!”

“Oh, now tell him shame on you to his face !!”

“Kid, you really think you got as much experience as the nice lady?”

“When we went on strike, my wife Rosa, rest her soul, taught the other wives in the local how to prepare for the strike and then how to get through it. Everyone recognized her as amazing. Do you think she could drive a locomotive?”

“Fahgettabowdit, what’s with the insurance talk What happened to health-care? All you they talk about is coverage. Didn’t you guys go to school? In the insurance racket – someone has got to lose, but its never the company. Aren’t enough of us losing now ?? How in God’s name did you convert this issue to insurance? We need a health-care for people who work hard. Charge them for the health-care they use – forget about insurance!!!”

About this time, we encourage Uncle Nunzio to go back to his room and listen to a little Julius La Rosa. Plus the fact that striped sweater that the kids bought him for Christmas makes him look like he’s on a chain gang – but don’t confuse crazy with stupid.

So Tim Russert, using Al Jolson hands sans white gloves, repeats himself, russert_debate1.jpgurging the candidate to commit to something, even if its irrelevant.

Wouldn’t you have been blown away if he asked the Uncle Nunzio insurance / health-care question? Maybe asked Barack to elaborate on the Rezko matter?


Brian Williams, certainly he’s a nice guy too, but he causes spontaneous narcolepsy when he takes 50 seconds to ask a 3 second question. Another fan of Jolson hands,williams_debate he has to tell us that he’s going to read something and then read it. Didn’t anyone tell these guys that they are on television? We can see them reading. This isn’t a 1927 radio broadcast.

Then there is the debate coverage analysis which should more appropriately be aimed towards analyzing the moderators and how they squandered a perfect opportunity to ask two very bright and capable candidates questions that weren’t memorized – the way kids know the remaining candy in the big bowl a week after Halloween.

Frankly, form our perspective, we’ve learned a lot more from listening to the Senators Clinton and Obama speak to crowds or one-on-one interviews than any of the debates have provided. The silly semantics involving Louis Farrakhan’s endorsement of Obama were a waste of time and revealing about some of Clinton’s experiences. It reminded us of the airplay that “the definition of is” got for Bill Clinton just over a decade ago. Obviously, Hillary beginning to see a waning of the Black support she had previously commanded would pipe up in some manner – it just didn’t seem relevant to incredible opportunity to ask these two candidates revealing questions of principle, rule-of-law, immunity, our military preparedness, States rights, the Supreme Court etc… How about what they would be looking for in Cabinet choices? Attorney General? Joint Chiefs?

Perhaps it’s just us – we wanted to hear something new. We don’t need to hear from the NBC News-talkers – we wanted to hear responses to well thought out intellectually stimulating questions. What we got was debate for dummies, largely because of the moderators. The Candidates are clearly intellectually capable – the moderators seem to be either terribly scripted, constrained by management or simply less than imaginative. As far as we’re concerned – leave the millionaire talking heads to sell soap powder and provide some depth next time. Please?