Jun 19, 2008

Tim Russert's funeral

Before the gathering at the Kennedy Center, a private funeral was attended by members of the media, lawmakers and several generations of politicians; Barack Obama and John McCain sat next to each other, per a request by the Russert family. "It was a pretty amazing sight," says Wolf Blitzer. "Before the service started, they were chatting amiably and intensely for 15-20 minutes."

Nestled amidst MSNBC's marathon weekend of coverage, the best eulogy came from Mike Barnacle, calling Russert "this sweetheart of a man". I've been trying to think of English equivalents: Paxman, in terms of his reputation as a grand inquisitor, but nobody ever found Paxman a sweetheart. Maybe a Dimbleby — David? — but Russert was watched by many more people.

"The beautiful thing about the coverage was that it offered extremely important information to those age 15 or 25 or 30 who may not have been told how to operate in the world beyond "Go succeed," says Peggy Noonan, gagging slightly on all the blue-collar veneration. "Tim, as all now know, was a working-class boy from upstate New York. But the amazement with which some of his colleagues talked of his background made them sound like Margaret Mead among the indigenous people of Borneo."

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