I never met Tim Russert, but I’m going to miss him. I can’t think of another newsperson so irreplaceable, and it’s impossible to imagine Meet the Press without him. I know enough about Russert to know he was a Democrat, but that was immaterial to his interviewing style. You could never truly tell whose side he was on, because he treated everyone he interviewed, regardless of party affiliation, with the same dogged incisivness designed to get past their politics to their souls. That’s why a Tim Russert interview was so yummy to watch. It was bound to be brilliant, penetrating, different, fair, and above all, informative.
I’m big on integrity. I try to have it myself, and sometimes I succeed. I strive to create characters who are, at their core, decent and honest and who struggle with themselves when they stray from those values. I wouldn’t care about my characters otherwise, and I certainly wouldn’t expect my readers to care. I think that’s the quality Tim Russert had that I’ll miss the most: integrity. There are many other interviewers I admire, but there was only one I knew I could trust.