All right. I’m getting a little pissed off by all the criticism of Tim Russert. Everyone’s jumping on him for saying this on Bill Moyers’ show about the performance of the press on the WMD story:
RUSSERT: …there were concerns expressed by other government officials. And to this day, I wish my phone had rung, or I had access to them.
And of course it seems easy to make fun of him here, given that he’s the Washington Bureau Chief for NBC. But what none of these people apparently understand is that Russert doesn’t have a phone that makes outgoing calls. It’s unfortunate, but NBC and GE simply can’t afford it. It’s so very easy to miss that when you’re sitting pretty atop your lucrative blog empire. But every night in America, some gigantic corporate conglomerate is choosing between buying food for its anchors and making outgoing phone calls.
And what this means is, Russert’s job is to show up at 9 am, and wait until somebody calls him and tells him what’s going on. And he does it very well. He sits by the phone all day, because if he misses a call, he has to wait until they call him back.
Also, keep in mind that these “other government officials” to which he refers are sealed in a titanium vault at the center of the earth. So how exactly would Russert get access to them? I’d like to see you try it, all you big shots.