When Enough Becomes Too Much?

Regardless how one feels about MSNBC/NBC, we should take a moment of silence for the passing of Tim Russert. All life is precious and all families feel the pain of loss; the hole in life that will never be filled. We wish you God speed Mr. Russert.

Good Bye

Yet let us be clear. Mr. Russert in the end was a talk show host. His topic? Politics. He made an impressive impact in his field. He did not decode DNA strands for humanity. He did not cure polio.

MSNBC’s coverage (granted they knew him personally; don’t professional standards still apply?) borders on the emotionally psychotic. Olbermann for hours teetered on the edge of being appallinly unglued. One can only cringe thinking what a lunatic Olbermann will do on Countdown. Not everyone lost composure. Gregory, for example, retained a sobriety and measure. Al Hunt, possibly Mr. Russert’s closest friend in life, also gave graceful, heartfelt yet professional observations about Mr. Russert the man and journalist. His grief was obvious, dignified and enhanced its resonance for Mr. Russert. It is possible for some to be in mourning, miss the man and mentor, and still keep composure and emotional balance. The inevitable canonization does not require mawkish obsequiousness. There is enough to remember on its own.

Absurdly (but predictably), Pat turned Mr. Russert into a Volkish staple standing against the SDS, Tom Hayden, hippies and all that has gone wrong with America since 1965. Pat all but declared Russert an honorary party member. Similarly, Tweety also emphasized the class side of Tim’s background, carefully (but appearing to be spontaneous) making sure that Mr. Russert’s bio tracked Tweety’s own mythology. Quelle suprise.

Mr. Russert, we in our little band here often made genial fun of you (and tossed in some snark as well). To you now and to your family here behind we extend deepest condolences and sympathy. But those overwrought parts of the groundswell of choreographed testimonials beginning at 4 today leading up the apotheosis on Sunday? Already not so much.