Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Overrated Russert: From Gotcha to Insane

Posted by Scott Cavanagh
Has Tim Russert surpassed Chris Matthews as MSNBC's craziest cackler or what? Last night's performance at Cleveland's Democratic Debate was just a classic.

I've been trying to point out what an overrated hack this guy is for years--with his predictable, simplistic "gotcha" style of questioning--where every interview subject's intellect or honesty ends up being judged by how they responded to some out-of-context magazine quote or five-year-old speech line that does not jive with Moonface's previous set-up question.
That habit was bad enough, but his more recent pattern of asking rambling, convoluted and downright silly hypothetical questions that end with requests for "yes" or "no" answers ("Senator Obama--You are president. We are suddenly under major attack by Space Monkeys. We manage to defeat the Monkeys with conventional weapons, but a small colony of the Monkeys is still hiding out in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Would you use nuclear weapons to take them out, even though you knew they were hiding in an orphanage full of children? Would you nuke those orphans-- yes or no?") has made him the funniest newscaster since Norm MacDonald.
He was at his dopey best last night, consistently interrupting both candidates and creating an atmosphere that made the debate more about the candidates answering his writers' fantasy scenarios than directly addressing each other on the issues.
If the debate moderation itself was not enough hysterical theater for the insane, the post debate commentary, with Russert teaming-up with his cackling, hunchback partner Matthews to praise the evening's "tough" questioning was the cherry on top. ("Man Russ--you really knocked Obama off his perch with the Monkey-Nuke thing. Bottom line is, he couldn't answer it. If he can't answer the tough Space Monkey questions, what does that tell us about how he'll handle Bigfoot?")


Ken Hart said...

He went off the deep end last night. I used to think highly of him, but this was sheer grandstanding on his part. A quick search on Google News turns up similiar articles today taking Russert to task, like this one here. I'm all for aggressive questioning of political candidates, but a) this was the wrong forum, and b) his line of questioning, especially regarding Farrakhan, was a Bizarro World version of "Six Degress of Kevin Bacon."

JohnT said...

It's one thing to be simplistically confrontational on your own show, but to interject yourself into a national forum setup to allow candidates to debate each other on the issues that matter to voters is indeed going from gotcha to just plain insane.

I gotta hand it to both candidates for their composure. I would have told him to shove it.

All he succeeded in doing was waste everyone's time.