This afternoon’s shocking news of the death of NBC “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert sparked memories in our newsroom of stories CNS has written about him over the years. Here are some examples:
— Opening the annual National Catholic Educational Association convention in 2000: TV newsman thanks Catholic school teachers who ‘changed my life’
— On his new book “Big Russ & Me,” written, as our story said, “just in time for Father’s Day” 2004: Russert writes about lessons from his father, lessons for his own son
— And in a talk he gave to Catholic social ministers from across the country in 2005: Making world better for children a necessary goal, says NBC’s Russert
That last story has nuggets of what made Russert both a great newsman and a great father. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you look at the third-to-the-last paragraph:
In introducing Russert, Mercy Sister Lourdes Sheehan, an associate general secretary of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said, “Amazingly, he got John McCain and Hillary Clinton to admit that the other would make a good president” …
Remember, this is from 2005!
In that same story, about making the world better for children, he reflected on his role as a father:
In dealing with his own son, Luke, Russert added that he tells him, “You are always, always loved, but you are never entitled.”
Tragically — but perhaps fittingly, given Russert’s devotion to both his father and his son — his death came just two days before our annual observance of Father’s Day.
UPDATE: The U.S. bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign also has an insightful interview with Russert about the importance of his Catholic faith conducted in 2004 by Msgr. Jim Lisante for the CCC’s “One-on-One” series. It too is well worth your time to see how important the faith was to Russert.
PHOTO: Tim Russert, managing editor and moderator of NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ looks on as Peggy Noonan, a contributing editor to the Wall Street Journal and political author, speaks during a 2006 panel discussion at Boston College. (CNS photo/Peter Smith, The Pilot)