On Friday afternoon, when I saw the headline "Tim Russert dies at 58" on the website MetaFilter I thought it was facetious. I quickly found out that I was sadly wrong.
Russert, considered by many within politics and the media to be the "king of Washington" due to his vast political knowledge and analytical skills, was the longtime host of NBC's "Meet the Press." At 17 years the longest-tenured host in the sixty-year history of television's longest-running program, Russert (a spokesman for N.Y. Senator Daniel Moynihan and N.Y. Governor Mario Cuomo before entering journalism) was a respected and, by some politicians, feared political journalist. He was one of those figures in broadcasting that seemed like he had always been there and seemed like he always would be. And now he's not.
The encomiums to Russert have been flowing over the weekend. Here are some of the best ones that I've found around the web:
As Russert was considered a master of the nexus of politics and television, the Washington Post offers tributes from its premiere political columnist, David Broder, and its premiere TV columnist, Tom Shales.
Time Magazine offers a pair of tributes also, from political correspondent (and close Russert friend) Joe Klein and from reporter Richard Stengel.
The New York Times has a column by conservative commentator William Kristol, a piece by political reporter Adam Nagourney about Russert's pre-journalism career as a N.Y. Democratic political operative, a round up of what political blogs have been saying about Russert, and a detailed running commentary on the news and reactions of Russert's death from Friday on its Caucus blog.
Finally, two video clips from NBC--the first one is the opening minutes of Sunday morning's episode of "Meet the Press," moderated by Tom Brokaw (who emotionally gave the first on-air announcement of Russert's death on NBC on Friday), and featuring several panel members who worked closely with Russert; the second one is a "Today" show interview from this morning with Russert's son Luke.