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Thursday, 06 March 2008 17:04

Tim Russert is Bought and Owned by General Electric

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For reporting that is an embarrassment to the profession of journalism, and for being beholden to corporate paymasters rather than the citizens of America.

He's back. Yes, Tim Russert -- General Electric's favorite waterboy for the irrelevant and throwing softballs at the Dick Cheneys of the world -- joins the few, the wealthy, the compromised, and the faux sincere political journalists as a two-time winner of the BuzzFlash Media Putz of the Week Award.

Considering all the grave issues facing the world today, in the Cleveland Democratic "showdown," Russert managed to sound like an inquisitor on secondary character issues that would be better left to the waning minutes of an unimportant news conference.

Conrad N. Sawyer of Fayetteville, Arkansas nominated Russert for "Being a shill for the Republican Party at the Tuesday night Ohio Democratic debate. Why didn't he ask if the candidates have a contingency plan if evil Zircon people from Pluto attack us with Q rays?" Sawyer has a point, even though Russert's questions weren't completely irrelevant, but they reminded us of his past debate question that was burning on every American's mind, Has Dennis Kucinich ever seen a UFO?

MediaMatters.org noted:

"During this week's Democratic presidential debate, Russert didn't ask a single question about global warming, continuing his longstanding habit of all but ignoring the topic. He didn't ask a single question about the mortgage crisis. (As one Cleveland resident noted, "We've got the mortgage industry's toxic waste scattered all over this city, but Mr. Blue-Collar-Buffalo-and-Cleveland-Marshall-Guy Russert couldn't be bothered with a question about it.") He didn't ask a single question about executive power, the Constitution, torture, wiretapping, or other civil-liberties concerns. But that shouldn't come as a surprise; of all the questions he has asked while moderating presidential debates during this campaign, only one has dealt with any of those topics."

Why didn't Russert ask these questions?

Once again, we are brought back to the corporate context and constraints of creating Media Putzes. NBC is owned by GE and GE has business interests that could financially be affected by slowing down nuclear power and ensuring its safety; by reducing greenhouse gas emissions; by increasing regulation on the mortgage markets; and so on. Not to mention that GE doesn't, in any way, want to tick off Dick Cheney or George W. Bush by getting into a meaningful discussion of unitary authority or the assault on our civil liberties.

Russert has a pleasant enough television presence, but so does a golden retriever at the Westminster Dog Show -- and they are both on leashes, of different kinds to be sure.

BuzzFlash has mentioned in the past that Russert has built up a fuzzy narrative about his working class upbringing in Buffalo, New York. Unfortunately, his "success" story has resulted in his abandoning the values he grew up with for the lure of a fat paycheck. He's even abandoned, as his line of questioning showed in Cleveland, the working class stiffs he has left behind to struggle economically for survival.

The working class has been taken for a ride by the entrenched Republicrats in D.C., and Russert is their trusted puppy who they trust to never upset the status quo.


Tim Russert previously won the Media PUTZ of the week on August 2, 2007.