On the passing of Tim Russert



          I never worked with or for Tim Russert although I’ve watched him religiously throughout my career in media and communications. He had that “light” or “glow” I came to recognize in the men in media I want to emulate.  

Poet John Milton referred to it in his poem Paradise Lost and he enclosed, or surrounded God, Adam, and Eve and even Satan in different levels of the same. Each had a different glow, and ironically God’s was not the brightest light. Go figure! To find whose glow was the brightest you’ll have to read Paradise Lost.

In fact, I think Paradise Lost might just be the best way to describe the passing of Tim Russert. Those of us who experienced that sinking feeling on Friday when we first learned of Tim’s passing, knew immediately a little bit of our luster went with him. We knew each time we saw him work he made us better. And each time we saw him, no matter how many times we saw him in a day, or a week, we got better and we knew it. This was not because Tim was necessarily the “best” we had seen in “the business” (though if he was not, he had to be in the top three) but because the best “the business” has to offer was evident, and embodied in him. He loved his work.  He loved his family. He loved his country. He loved his friends. He loved his competitors.

We never got enough of him because we knew he was “that good” and some how if he knew it, he never let on. As a result despite how often his colleagues or the viewing public saw him, Tim Russert was never in danger of over exposure. His presence in the room, whether on television, or in person was never overwhelming, just enlightening.

Losing him reminds all of us that the death of a peer (he was 58 years old and I am 59) brings with it a sense of instant mortality, and that bad things can happen to “good people”, and any time we lose good people we experience Paradise Lost.


John Milton Wesley


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