When you go on "Meet the Press," you don't literally "meet the press," you meet Tim Russert, an affable former-blue-collar guy from Buffalo. During the Clinton administration, Russert gained the reputation of being a tough interviewer by beating up on the likes of milquetoast Democratic operative Lanny Davis on crucial issues central to our democracy.
Such as whether or not the president inhaled when smoking marijuana as a college student or if indeed he had an affair with Gennifer Flowers while serving as governor of Arkansas. Then there was the blue dress of Monica Lewinsky, which Russert maintained the Clinton presidency could not survive.
On Sunday, however, we saw a different Tim Russert. The one who's employed by NBC, which is owned by General Electric, one of America's largest defense contractors. The one who has allowed Vice President Dick Cheney to use his program as a propaganda vehicle on no fewer than 10 occasions over the past three years.
Like a batting practice pitcher in spring training, Russert lobbed softball after softball, rarely following up. The astonishing thing was that Bush couldn't manage to hit a single one out of the park.
When Bush said, with a straight face, that it didn't matter that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, and that the deaths of 531 American service men and women, 99 allied soldiers and 10,000 Iraqis was justified because Hussein thought about having weapons of mass destruction, Russert gave him a pass.
And while the substance abuse problems of presidential brothers Billy Carter and Roger Clinton provided fodder for many a Sunday morning chat show, the recent divorce court testimony by Neil Bush -- that he picked up a venereal disease from a Chinese prostitute -- didn't rate a mention.
Buffalo's own Tim Russert is a shill. He likes beating up on the weak and wounded while serving his corporate masters and living a jet-set lifestyle.
Maybe if there was a blue dress in George W. Bush's closet. But no. Who would want to have sex with him?
Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com February 10 2004