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Thu Jul 31 13:50:54 MDT 2008
NY Times, July 31st, 2008
NBC Hires Luke Russert as a Correspondent
By Brian Stelter
The late “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert’s imprint will remain
with NBC News for some time to come: his son Luke will serve as a
correspondent at large for the network.
The elder Mr. Russert, 58, died of a heart attack on June 13. He
frequently mentioned Luke, his only son, in television appearances.
The younger Mr. Russert’s first assignment will be at the Democratic
National Convention in Denver at the end of August and at the Republican
National Convention in St. Paul at the beginning of September. A 2008
Boston College graduate, he will focus on youth issues for NBC.
“Never before in an election cycle has so much attention turned to the
youth vote, and Luke will bring a unique perspective to covering it,”
Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, said in a statement.
Before his father’s unexpected death in June, Mr. Russert already had
extensive media experience. For two years he has co-hosted an XM radio
show with the political pundit James Carville. Two weeks after his
father died, he appeared on “Larry King Live” and discussed the dramatic
rise in the number of young people who are showing interest in this
“The availability of the Internet has allowed kids to be very engaged in
the political process and also be very educated,” he said on CNN. “I
myself am a religious reader of political Web sites, as are a lot of my
Mr. Russert will continue to cover youth issues after the November
election, an NBC spokeswoman said.
July/August 2003 Atlantic Monthly
Americans censure nepotism on the one hand and practice it as much as
they can on the other. There's much to be said for "good" nepotism, the
author argues—which is fortunate, because we're living in a nepotistic
by Adam Bellow
In Praise of Nepotism
For almost two years leading up to the November 2000 elections,
expectations focused on Vice President Albert Gore Jr. and Texas
Governor George W. Bush. Both were the sons of important political
families. Their rivalry sparked an immediate interest in the "return" of
Gore, an able and hardworking politician, was described as a child of
privilege whose public career had begun literally at birth, when his
father persuaded the local paper to carry the news on its front page.
After twenty-four years of government service Gore had compiled an
impressive record. Bush, too, was a talented politician, a two-term
governor who had smoothly assumed control of his father's political
network. Yet he suffered even more from the "silver-spoon" label.
Following closely in his father's footsteps without equaling his
accomplishments, Bush seemed derivative, uncertain: a bad copy of his
father. For many, he was aptly described by a comment aimed at the
senior Bush in 1988 by the Texas commissioner of agriculture, Jim
Hightower, now a radio personality: "He is a man who was born on third
base and thinks he hit a triple."
Many people were offended by the idea that the presidency could be
claimed as a birthright, as though it were family property. But others
saw in Bush the authenticity Gore lacked, suggesting that the rebellious
youth who eventually accepts mature responsibilities is better liked and
trusted than the dutiful son who suppresses his true inclinations in
order to please a demanding father. In effect, then, the 2000 election
was a referendum not on the validity of dynastic succession in a
democracy but on which kind of successor we prefer. The Prodigal Son won
out over the Dutiful Son. The glad-handing frat boy defeated the
No sooner had Bush taken office (thanks partly to the decision of a
Supreme Court dominated by Reagan-Bush appointees) than he began doling
out appointments to relatives of other leading Republicans. Michael
Powell, the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, became chairman of
the Federal Communications Commission. Elaine Chao, the wife of Senator
Mitch McConnell, became Secretary of Labor. Chao's chief labor attorney,
Eugene Scalia, is the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and
Justice William Rehnquist's daughter went to Health and Human Services.
Elizabeth Cheney, the Vice President's daughter, became a deputy
assistant secretary of state, and her husband became chief counsel for
the Office of Management and Budget. In a crowning act of nepotistic
chutzpah, Bush acceded to Senator Strom Thurmond's request that he
appoint the twenty-eight-year-old Strom Thurmond Jr. U.S. attorney for
Helen Thomas, the former UPI Washington correspondent, declared in a
column that the Bush Administration had become "a family affair, reeking
of nepotism." (Nepotism is often said to reek, as though it were a pile
of dirty laundry.) "You'd think an administration headed by the son of a
former president might be a teensy bit leery of appearing to foster a
culture of nepotism," Andrew Sullivan wrote in The New Republic.
Sullivan produced a long list of people who had gotten jobs in
Washington through such connections, and concluded, "All this nepotism
is a worrisome sign that America's political class is becoming
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