Thursday, May 24, 2012

Luke Russert Sucks

Not that we didn't already know this, but considering my slight obsession with his stupidity, I figured I would mention that one of my favorite writers Alex Pareene took some time to write about lil' Luke:
But our target here is Russert, and he is not personally responsible for NBC’s decision to bequeath him a broadcasting job. If we focus on the work and not the means by which Russert got the job, things don’t look much better. Initially at least, the grownups on the air always seemed to be holding Russert’s hand as he tried to remember his lines, as if he were a child and not a fully grown college graduate and professional. It’s obvious that everyone who knew his father loves Luke. But everyone’s affection for the kid is not transmissible through a television set, alas, and Russert’s appearances seemed like some rich guy’s kid’s piano recital suddenly taking place in the middle of a professional orchestra’s concert.

His initial role was as MSNBC’s semi-official “young person” correspondent, because reporting on what he himself was seemed the least ridiculous thing to have Luke Russert suddenly doing in a national cable news network’s presidential election coverage. And in his role as a young person reporting on what young people think of presidential politics, Russert sounded like an old person — like an old Washington lifer — talking about what he thinks the young people today are all about. (No self-respecting young person, to use one brief example, uses the term millennial.)

Here’s an early report:

This is like a master class in pointless political pseudo-analysis. All the resources and staff of MSNBC at his disposal, and the package still looks and sounds like it was put together for a high school civics class presentation. (I mean, except that Larry Sabato shows up halfway through. I guess it is professional Washington journalism!) Kids are turning off their reality TV and tuning into the real-life Amazing Race!Facebook and stuff, some experts say! Only time will tell. For MSNBC, I’m a person with no business having this job.

(This is the piece that Russert concluded by making a minor gaffe that set the right against him, for a moment: The “smartest kids in the state” go to UVA, he told Matt Lauer, so they naturally favor Obama. This was actually just poorly stated conventional wisdom, not really “liberal bias” — by “the smartest kids in the state” he meant, he later explained, kids “from affluent, highly educated households.”)

Months after hiring Russert, Steve Capus, president of NBC News, called him one of the network’s “rookies of the year,” which doesn’t reflect well on NBC’s 2008 rookie class. (Russert returned the favorwith effusive praise for his boss.)

On the basis of his impressive reporting and ease in front of the camera still being named Russert, Luke was promoted, after the election, to Congressional correspondent. That’s the contempt with which NBC News views the occupation of journalism. To make Luke Russert a Congressional reporter is to say, “we believe that this job requires no particular knowledge, training or skills. If a German Shepard could be trained to speak, it could perform this work.” (That’s true of most cable news work, granted, but it really doesn’t have to be.) Proper reporting on the House of Representatives is actually difficult and largely thankless work, generally done by very hard-working and underpaid reporters. The assignment was transparently NBC’s attempt to help Russert develop chops, and what it has yielded thus far is the time Charlie Rangel called Luke dumb, which MSNBC turned into a two-day story.

NBC seems to be keeping Russert employed in the hopes that he’ll eventually develop an ability to simulate gravitas. Hopefully “Meet the Press” will still be on the air by the time Luke has mastered his serious face.

His Twitter feed presents a perfectly dull person with perfectly banal thoughts. When he drifts into attempted solemnity it’s usually more amusing than his actual attempts at humor. (More quality insight, right here.) It’s precisely what you would imagine the result would be if the elite Beltway press somehow collectively raised a child from birth — which is, in effect, what actually happened. He subscribes to every shibboleth of Washington conventional wisdom and shows fealty to all the proper institutions.

It won't disappoint.

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