Timothy John Russert, Jr (born May 7, 1950, in Buffalo, New York; d. June 13, 2008, in Washington, D.C.) was a political analyst for NBC Nightly News, and their morning show Today. He also held the position of Managing Editor and Moderator of Meet the Press (NBC), and The Tim Russert Show (CNBC). Both shows interview the country's policymakers, and journalists on issues facing the nation. He died of a heart attack on June 13, 2008 at the age of 58.
Russert began his major television involvement when he took over the helm of the already well respected Meet the Press show in December 1991. The programs growth continued to spike as it became the most watched Sunday news interview program, and also most quoted worldwide. From the current presidential candidates, to the sitting president and administration officials, Russert interviewed nearly all major players in United States politics today.
In the past, he was involved and hosted many shows; including PBS’s 1996 show Why America Hates the Press. In 1990, he served as production executive for a NBC’s series A Day in the Life of President Bush and in 1993, A Day in the Life of President Clinton.
Russert appeared in two films. In 2000, he was in a short, comedic film entitled, President Clinton: Final Days (2000), and a documentary on the 2000 Bush vs. Gore campaign, Election 2000 which was released in 2001.
In 2005, Russert authored “Big Russ and Me”, a book about his father and childhood. Two years later he wrote a second book which became a national bestseller, Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters From Daughters and Sons.
Russert has been attacked by both political parties for alleged bias. NewsMax’s president and CEO Christopher Ruddy, criticized him for his “liberal media bias" citing his previous work as a "Democratic political operative" for New York's former Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo and senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). On the liberal side, he is attacked for, as a Democratic Underground stated, being "...anything BUT an objective journalist."
Russert responded to these criticisms by saying he asks tough questions to everyone on his show despite party affiliation. He said, “It’s a TV show. If you can’t handle TV questions, how you gonna stand up to Iran and North Korea and the rest of the world?”.