The death of Tim Russert

Behind The News
June 13, 2008 1:14:46 PM PDT
It's a small fraternity this far-flung world of news reporting. And so when one of the better-known TV reporters dies, we are all affected. The viewers are affected. And so tonight we're mourning the death of a really great reporter, a great political journalist, and a truly smart and talented TV host - Tim Russert.

He collapsed in the voice tracking booth at the NBC offices in Washington, and died. He was recording a segment for his popular Sunday news show, the venerable "Meet The Press." He was the host of that show longer than anyone.

His wife is, was, the equally talented reporter Maureen Orth. They had just returned from a trip to Europe with their son.

We are all in a state of shock, as are the folks at NBC News, where Russert served as Washington Bureau Chief and their main guy when it came to politics.

We will look back at Russert's life -- which included growing up in Buffalo and working for New York's U.S. Senator Pat Moynihan -- tonight at 11.

Also at 11, there are many who bemoan the ubiquitous surveillance cameras -- but tonight it's hard to complain about them. A camera outside a church in the Marine Park section of Brooklyn captured in its entirety a horrible attack on a 62-year-old woman, coming to work, when a guy punched her, knocked her to the ground, then stole her purse. He then found her car keys and drove off in her car.

It didn't take long for cops to arrest someone, thanks to the clear images on the surveillance tape. We are not a tabloid news organization, but it was difficult reporting this story last night to call the attacker by some slang name - like thug or hooligan. We called him "attacker" on the air -- after some discussion. But it's hard to see that tape and not get furious -- some attacker punching an innocent woman who had no idea what was happening. You can see the attack, by clicking HERE.

And remember how Mayor Bloomberg was criticized for sending out those $400 property tax rebates, in spite of a huge budget deficit that was projected? Now comes word that the Mayor is considering raising property taxes as early as next month because of a billion-dollar hole in the budget. The Mayor is blaming an arbitrator's ruling in favor of police officers. But the hole was going to be there; it was just a matter of time.

And Tappy Phillips tonight with the story of a homeowner who had a refill of heating oil delivered to her basement -- just one problem -- the woman didn't have an oil tank. It flooded her basement. She had a hard time getting the company to clean it up. So she called Tappy and got 7 On Your Side.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg with his weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.


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