In the wake of Tim Russert's tragic, untimely death last Friday there's much speculation as to what NBC executives will do with Meet the Press, the venerable Sunday morning news program he hosted for sixteen years. But, there was truly only one Tim Russert, and selecting a suitable replacement is surely a daunting task for the network.
In my opinion, there are only two names from which to choose: Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw. Let's review the more obvious choice first. Brokaw represents the same type of old school non-partisan journalistic integrity as Russert, as well as a genuine passion, enthusiasm and love of politics. He commands respect from both sides of the aisle, and is a veritable encyclopedia of national news and world affairs. He's a slam dunk for the job, and truly the only person who can occupy that chair and do justice to its former resident.
But then there's also Rather who, up until four years ago, was one of the news biz's most respected journalists. A guy who unfortunately got caught up in a controversial shitstorm in the age of Karl Rove/Tom Delay dirty Republican politics. How sad that over 40 years of dutiful service was tossed in the trash over one story about President Bush's alleged draft evasion during the Vietnam War. Mind you, Rather was and still is right about the story. But the right-wing fanatics conducted a witch hunt and shot the messenger, rather than question the message. Democrats simply went along for the ride. It was shameful and undeserving. NBC would show it has ginormous journalistic integrity, and balls, were it to put Rather behind that famous desk. It would make a huge statement to the partisan hacks who took him down: that there's a new sheriff in town, and a new town as well.