Tim Russert

News Executive/Moderator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

Tim Russert says that on Meet the Press he tries to ask questions that the effect the everyday lives of viewers: "The first question I ever asked on Meet the Press was to Senator Bob Dole.  There was a tax cut put in place for people making over $50,000 a year, and I asked him why that group was being targeted— while people who were buying a cup of coffee or a glass of beer were being charged sales tax. Well, my dad loved that question.  He drinks coffee, he drinks beer."  Tim Russert worked for NBC News for over two decades and at the time of his untimely death was the longest-serving moderator on Meet the Press. In his Archive interview, Tim Russert speaks about his early years growing up in Buffalo, NY and his decision to go to law school. He then talks about his transition to television news, joining NBC News in 1984 as vice president — working closely with his mentor, NBC president Lawrence Grossman. He chronicles his next career moves: in 1988, he became the Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief of NBC News and in 1991 he joined Meet the Press as its moderator. He discusses meeting with Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak, who gave him the advice to "learn as much as you can about your guest, and his and her position on the issues. And then take the other side." He took this advice to heart in his over 16 years at the helm of Meet the Press . He also reveals what he considers the biggest news story of his career, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States. Tim Russert (1950-2008) was interviewed in Washington D.C. on the set of Meet the Press on October 12, 2003; Karen Herman conducted the 20-minute interview, which was to be the first part of his full Archive interview.

"I see "Meet the Press" as a national treasure.  In its 56th year, I am the temporary custodian, and I know that when my time is over, I'll pass it on to someone else." 

Highlights
Tim Russert on Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak giving him the best advice he ever got about moderating
00:55
Tim Russert on how he prepared for a Meet the Press broadcast and how he used his family as a focus group
02:00
Tim Russert on what he considers to be his most important Meet the Press broadcast, the aftermath of September 11, 2001
02:09
Tim Russert on his historical "dream guests" Jesus Christ and Adolph Hitler 
00:58
Tim Russert on the limitations of television
00:29
Tim Russert on Meet the Press as a national treasure
00:14
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years growing up in Buffalo; his decision to attend law school
On going into journalism and his initial reluctance to be on-camera
On being tapped to moderate Meet the Press and his thoughts on television news in general
On working on Meet the Press , his process, and how he prepared for a broadcast
On covering 9/11 and the Presidential Election of 2000
On his dream Meet the Press guests; and executive producers Betty Cole Duckert and Betsy Fischer
Shows

Meet the Press

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Tim Russert on moderating Meet the Press, his approach to interviews, and his broadcast philosophy
15:50
Tim Russert on moderating Meet the Press, covering  the 2000 Presidential Election, 9/11, dream guests, and working with colleagues over the years
08:38

Today

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Tim Russert on becoming an NBC News executive and overseeing Today
01:21
Topics

9/11

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Tim Russert on his Meet the Press broadcast with Vice President Dick Cheney in the aftermath of 9/11
02:09
Tim Russert on how he found out about the attack and how journalists responded to 9/11
01:34

Bill Clinton

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Tim Russert on covering the truthfulness under oath during the Clinton presidency
00:36

Historic Events and Social Change

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Tim Russert on how he found out about the attack and how journalists responded to 9/11
01:34
Tim Russert on his Meet the Press broadcast with Vice President Dick Cheney in the aftermath of 9/11
02:09

Television and the Presidency

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Tim Russert on his coverage of the 2000 Presidential Election and the Supreme Court ruling
01:52

We Cried

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Tim Russert on the Meet the Press broadcast following 9/11 and the tribute to Father Mychal Judge
02:09
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

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Tim Russert on his opinion that a vigilant media can change the course of history
00:58

Moderator

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Tim Russert on his career trajectory which culminated in journalism
01:32
Genres

News and Documentary

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Tim Russert on the limitations of television news and avoiding gimmickry
01:35
People

David Brinkley

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Tim Russert on a David Brinkley quote about how news broadcasters condense a story
00:29

Dick Cheney

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Tim Russert on his Meet the Press broadcast with Vice President Dick Cheney in the aftermath of 9/11
02:09

Betty Cole Dukert

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Tim Russert on the legacy of former Meet the Press executive producer Betty Cole Duckert
01:01

Betsy Fischer

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Tim Russert on working with Meet the Press executive producer Betsy Fischer and the rest of his team
01:05

Lawrence K. Grossman

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Tim Russert on briefly working with Lawrence Grossman at NBC
01:17

Lawrence E. Spivak

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Tim Russert on Lawrence Spivak giving him the best advice he ever got
00:55

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