Not to Nitpick, But…

A List, for people who like that sort of thing: TV Week’s annual ranking of the “10 Most Powerful People in TV News” has Tim Russert at number 4 (up one in the ranks from last year!). Each ranking includes a description of “why [the chosen] was chosen,” a summary of the chosen’s “invaluable asset,” and a sentence or so “nitpicking” the chosen one. Here is the “nitpicking” bit of Russert’s ranking:

Mr. Russert’s loyalty to people used to making familiar points in a familiar way can sometimes make his roundtables seem fusty, especially in a presidential campaign year like this when a woman and an African American man have changed the political landscape and the race and gender conversations forever.

How is that a nit? Mr. Russert’s “loyalty to people used to making familiar points in a familiar way” is just a euphemism for “yet another week of of ‘Carville! Matalin! Murphy and Shrum!’” (something I complained about a few months back and which was, as it happens, the exact composition of Russert’s roundtable again yesterday).

Then again, TV Week considers Russert’s “invaluable asset” the “’Perry Mason’ moments enabled by the dogged research for which Mr. Russert and his executive producer Betsy Fischer are justly famous.”

“Invaluable asset” or “pointless or perverse form of entertainment—like shoulder self-dislocation or cat surfing”?

Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.