FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
The Russert Technique /
I have a confession to make.
I am a junkie. A political junkie. I
cannot get enough of the political shows, debates,
intrigue and even in-fighting. Of course I
like to think it is due to the importance of being
part of an informed electorate and how much of a
difference the people we elect can make in our daily
lives. Or that it is our duty as citizens to get
involved in our electoral process. But, mostly
it is because political season is a unique blend of
wrestling, great theatre and Liars Poker. How
infuriating it is to me to hear some candidates
spout misinformed and even down-right false
proclamations time after time without being called
to the carpet for their purposeful misstatements.
This has happened in debates, on talk shows and in
many interview formats, with the regular exception
of one venue, Meet The Press. And that was due
solely to the hard work and personal character of
its host, Tim Russert. Which is only one of
the reasons that I join so many in mourning his loss
this past Friday.
The other reason is that he was not afraid to
wear his love for his family on his sleeve. As a viewer, the
things you knew for certain was that this was a true everyman
who unabashedly loved his father, wife, son and sisters, his
hometown and even his hometown sports teams. And that every
Sunday, just a little bit of sunlight was to enter the political
fray as he interviewed his latest political guest. He gave
us the reporting that we frankly deserved to have as American
citizens: honest, searching and fearless.
There is one more thing about Mr. Russert
that I think every caregiver can appreciate. I read an
article in Newsweek yesterday about how he orchestrated a small
group of his dad's friends to create a sense of "transparent
caregiving" for his father, Big Russ. He would be in
constant phone contact with neighbors and family to ensure that
they checked in on Big Russ on a regular schedule and report
back to Tim about how his dad was doing. Big Russ was
none the wiser and was happy to see his friends so regularly.
We have been telling caregivers about this technique for years,
but from now on, in honor of one of our fellow caregivers, I
am going to call this the Russert Technique.