In less than 12 hours, retired NBC veteran anchor Tom Brokaw will honor his close friend and colleague Tim Russert on this Sunday's (06/15/08) 'Meet The Press' program. Late reports say that Brokaw will not being sitting in Tim Russert's anchor chair, but instead he will join other people that not only worked for years with Russert, but also there will be regular people that just knew Tim as a friend. Tim Russert's anchor chair will be left empty as a sign of respect for this giant figure of a man that touched so many Americans, one person at a time. Over this weekend, I have watched countless hours of tribute programs to the late Tim Russert both on NBC and MSNBC. There is no doubt that Tim Russert did more during his 58 years on this Earth than most people are able to accomplish in a lifetime.
Not only was Tim Russert an enthusiastic man that did his job with the energy of a 20 year old, his maturity in knowing what was really important to the people that worked for and around him was even a great personal attribute which presented itself in tribute programming produced to honor Tim this weekend. I have been debating about whether to watch today's tribute to Tim Russert live this morning when Tom Brokaw hosts his old show and to be honest with you, I think I am going to deliberately miss 'Meet The Press' this morning until I can better understand and grasp the lost of this great man. While I would not consider the feelings that I have this morning to be Tim Russert burn out, what I am really feeling is that I have been put through a meat grinder for the past 48 hours and my mind and soul need time to catch up and put all of the events surround Tim Russert's death into prospective.
Just like with the death of any important and influential person, the human mind can only take so much grief programming on television until the average person potentially faces falling into depression. Between Friday night and right now, I have watch countless hours of programming that have been dedicated to the life and memory of Tim Russert and at this early hour of Sunday morning, I frankly cannot see myself waking up early this morning to watch even more public grieving over this good, honest and decent man. Please don't mistake my not watching Tom Brokaw's tribute to Tim Russert this morning as any sign of disrespect for Tim Russert the man or journalist, but instead just chalk up my feelings as a guy that worked hard last week who must find some way to positively recharge his internal batteries before Monday morning.
While watching Tom Brokaw talk about Tim Russert on his NBC tribute show on Friday night, it appeared to me that Brokaw was almost on the edge of tears every time he was on camera. While TV journalist are required to cover stories even when they involve the death of people that they love and care about, it became clear to me by the end of NBC's Friday night tribute show to Tim Russert that Tom Brokaw was emotionally wore out. I understand that Brian Williams was out of the country on Friday, but I believe NBC put more stress on Brokaw than they should have done in requesting Brokaw to anchor a TV show about one of his best friends only hours after that friend died. Yes, most Americans loved to watch Tim Russert on television and millions of us are grieving his early passing. However, all of us - and especially his closest friends like Tom Brokaw need time to reflect and heal on the passing of Russert and placing them front and center on camera is not the most human way to help in that healing process.
Title: Tom Brokaw Honors His Friend/Colleague on 'Meet The Press'
Written: June 15 2008
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