Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Replacing Russert

Already people are wondering who's going to fill the shoes of Tim Russert, the journalistic giant who passed away this past weekend while preparing for Meet The Press.

According to the AP the search will probably stay in house because the network conglomerate is ripe with talent.

A person who in the wake of the past few days and also in light of his activities over the course of this campaign that has struck me as a great potential is NBC Political Director Chuck Todd. After all Russert was the one who pulled him in and has been steadily grooming him over the past 15+ months of employ in the Washington Bureau. A provocative and suggestive quote from the AP article:

Russert was a fixture beside first Brokaw, then Williams, on election nights with his contagiously enthusiastic analysis. He was a frequent guest of the "Today" show, explaining the latest political developments. His loss likely means a larger on-air role for Chuck Todd, the network's political director, who was recruited to NBC News by Russert. Todd has been increasingly visible this political season, particularly on MSNBC.

Media Bistro has a list of potentials and weighs the pro's and con's. The notion of Todd seems to be analogous to the Democratic Primary: Todd is to the MTP Moderator position as Obama was to the Nomination circa January.

PROS: Todd's got a bit of Russert's universal appeal -- and some of Russert's adorable nerdiness, too --despite not yet being a household name. Most Washingtonians (and reporters, especially) have a favorable view of him and almost everyone tips their hat to Todd's outside-of-the-box political analysis and quick ascension at NBC. He's enough of a young, fresh face that "Meet" could/would-be-smart-to launch a 20 year franchise around the guy, and with Russert having hand-picked Todd to join the NBC team, there's a bit of an "anointed one" mystique to Todd. Picking Todd might also help blunt the "Why Didn't They Pick Me?!?" anger of shunned NBC colleagues Matthews, Gregory, Brokaw, Scarborough, Olbermann, etc. by signaling that, Hey guys, it's not you ... it's us: We've decided to go in an entirely different direction.

CONS: He's the "Little Miss Sunshine" of this scorecard: He ought to get the Oscar,
but you know he won't (damn you, Departed). TV news is not known for taking such
bold chances on the new guy. Todd's primary skill set on television thus far has focused on the micro-political and its not clear he can (or want to) do what Russert did: Speak to the issues of ordinary Americans (political junkies love him because he seems to speak to us). We've yet to see any of Russert's Tough Guy-ness from Todd, which brings us to perhaps Todd's biggest weakness: TV position jockeying isn't for nice guys.

I'm not alone in my notions about a possible Todd Moderator position, according to Sully the Daily KOS and Jonah Goldberg believe this is the path to go... We'll see, in the meantime it is still too soon for an appointment, the memorials for Tim are today and tomorrow.

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