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 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.


Gary Barg

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