FRIENDS and family of Tim Russert are saddened by a piece in Harper's magazine by Lewis Lapham, who characterizes the late host of NBC's "Meet the Press" as a toady of the establishment and asks, "Why a requiem Mass for a pet canary?"A search for this dope turned up this paean to the odious Molly Ivins, so you have an idea where the old coot is coming from. And if you want the true essence of moonbattery, check out this interview with the psychotic Bill Moyers.
Russert died June 13 of a heart attack at age 58, and soon "the story was being wrapped up in the ribbons of a national tragedy, up there in lights with the death of President Ronald Reagan and the loss of Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer on the field at the Little Bighorn," Lapham writes in the September issue.
Lapham goes into great detail over the subsequent "procession of Washington media celebrities arriving with rush deliveries of op-ed-page solemnity and camera-ready grief."
By June 18, when MSNBC staged a memorial service for Russert at the Kennedy Center, "if I'd thought that the bathos couldn't reach new force levels, it was because I'd failed to account for either the cynicism or the vanity of a fourth estate that regards itself as the light in the window of Western civilization," Latham wails.
While he has only praise for Russert as a person, he states, "His on-air persona was that of an attentive and accommodating headwaiter, as helpless as Charlie Rose in his infatuation with A-list celebrity."
Veteran TV news executive Steve Friedman, who was at NBC News when Russert arrived in 1984 and who served as one of his honorary pallbearers, told Page Six Lapham "is trying to be provocative to get attention."
His crowning journalistic achievement was traveling ahead in time to witness the 2004 GOP Convention.
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