We here at Where's Luke? are all weekly watchers of Meet the Press. It was, without a doubt, the can't-miss program on politics. (Okay, Daily Show too.)
I've read a bunch of different reactions, but I think it's gonna be hard to top Ezra Klein's:
"Whatever my issues with Russert's coverage, he was there, week after week, night after night, playing the bulldog against politicians in the way he thought best. It was quite a commitment to American politics, and over the years, gave rise to some remarkable moments. Because I think folks should be remembered for their best work, here's a transcript of his September 2002 interview with Dick Cheney. If the press had been as skeptical and aggressive in the run-up to the war as Russert was on that morning, sitting next to the vice president, we never would have invaded Iraq. But for now, it's going to be strange indeed to turn on the TV on Sundays and not hear his voice. Presumably, he's up somewhere beyond the cloudline, hectoring God about His inconsistencies. 'But Lord, in Exodus 6:12, you clearly said...'"I'd also like to think that upon meeting up with Jesus, Tim breaks out the trusty old white board and scribbled some numbers down, explaining, "In the ongoing contest for souls, I think Satan has some weaknesses in these demographics..."
Okay, that wasn't nearly as good as Ezra's, but I had to get the white-board thing in there.
Also (and I know this is way too soon, but it's the blogosphere and this is some cutthroat shit) I'd like to be the first to recommend Chuck Todd for the next host of Meet the Press. If you saw the interview with Chuck shortly after Tim died, you could see clearly that he had been balling his eyes out. He was a big fan of Tim, and I'm sure if anyone could sit in that chair and be a worthy successor, it'd be Chuck Todd.
[The following stuff I added later, some sentimental stuff, so feel free to stop reading now.]
I know none of this was all that profound or anything, just sort of a gut reaction. I'll leave it to the other guys here to write something with a bit more perspective. But I just wanted to add one or two more things.
In all sincerity, it's particularly tragic that he died two days before Father's Day. From all accounts, he was an amazing father. He also wrote a book about his dad, Big Russ. He had just returned from a vacation with his family to celebrate his son's graduation from Boston College.
Regardless of whether you thought he was a crappy interviewer or was more influential than he deserved to be, he did ultimately seem like a decent guy in a field full of the total opposite. He was fair with people, he let them talk -- both of which are rare, both in politics and in life. (I warned you about the sentimental stuff.)
It's not a perfect comparison, but it kinda reminds me of when Heath Ledger suddenly dropped dead. One of my first thoughts was, Why him? Of all the people in that field who are just total douchebags, this one seemed like an okay guy.
Eh, who knows. As it says in the tag, death sucks.