Russert on the Hot Seat

Howard Kurtz has an interesting interview with Tim Russert that makes the cover of this week’s Washington Post Magazine. Nothing particularly quotable here but it gives some insights into why Russert’s Meet the Press is so popular. Also, while I knew Russert had worked for Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo, I didn’t realize he went to law school.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    This is just my opinion- and apparently a minority one at that- but I’ve never been that enthralled with Russert.

    To me, his success on Sunday morning has more been a function of his competition’s ineptitude than his performance.

    I’m sure most people feel otherwise but I’ve never seen the skill in putting up a former quote and asking why the person is saying something different today. Isn’t that obvious?

    What annoys me most is that Russert has such a tough reputation. I don’t see it.

    He and his staff script the questions and he never asks a followup for fear he get behind the clock. A guest can say basically anything and Russert will let it go unchallenged. I’ve never understood how he got the tough guy reputation.

    To me, he reads the questions his staff rights and ignores the answer. Where is the skill in that?

    But maybe it is just me.

  2. Boyd says:

    I tend to agree with your assessment that Russert’s reputation as a hard interviewer is greatly overstated. There have been many times that he has failed to follow up on gaping holes in his guests’ responses to his initial questions. As a side note, he strikes me as a bi-partisan ignorer. There have been many times when I’ve groaned over someone’s response, waiting for Russert to grill them, and he just moves on to the next question.

    One minor point, Paul. You seem to minimize Russert’s role in preparation for the program by talking about his staff writing the questions. While I don’t know for sure, it seems to me that Russert is the prime author of his script. He undoubtedly gets others to do a good bit of research for him, but I get the impression that he’s the one that weaves it together to tell the story he wants with his questions.