The Nightly Daily editors would like to offer our sincere gratitude to Congressman Charlie Rangel for his dressing-down of MSNBC's Luke Russert. While Russert was questioning the congressman Thursday about the House Ethics Committee's decision to try him for alleged ethics violations, the following exchange took place:
Luke Russert: Are you concerned about losing your job?
Charles Rangel: What are you talking about? You just trying to make copy? What job? The one I got?
LR: Yeah--these are potentially serious violations.
CR: How do you think I got my job? I was elected, right? How do you think I'd lose it?
LR: There's two ways--you could lose it if your colleagues voted you out of here because of ethics violations, or if your constituents--
CR: What station are you from?
CR: Well, you're young--I guess you do need to make a name for yourself but basically you know it's a dumb question and I'm not going to respond.
LR: How is it a dumb question?
CR: They're allegations made by some people--
LR: You did not file taxes on properties in the Dominican Republic allegedly--if that's true, is that not a problem?
CR: It doesn't really sound like NBC--asking these dumb questions--it just shows what has happened to a channel that did have some respect.
Luke Russert has absolutely no skill or aptitude as a network (or even a cable) interviewer. It's clear that he got his job because of his father (Tim Russert) and his mentor/protector (Brian Williams). Luke Russert is Christopher Moltisanti. For those not familiar with "The Sopranos", here's a synopsis: When Tony Soprano's close friend Dickie Moltisanti died, Tony took Dickie's son Christopher under his wing. Christopher became Tony's protege, and Tony did everything he could to teach Christopher the ways of the (under) world. Unfortunately, Christopher was a screw-up. He was often too strung out on drugs to do what Tony asked him to do, and the rest of the time he was just too lazy or too incompetent. Luke Russert is Brian Williams's Christopher Moltisanti. Brian hero-worshipped Tim Russert so much that after Tim's death, he vowed to give Luke a career on MSNBC, despite Luke's obvious lack of talent for the job. Let's just hope that the Brian Williams-Luke Russert relationship ends better than the Tony Soprano-Christopher Moltisanti relationship.
Of course, the most bizarre part of the Russert-Rangel exchange is that Brian chose to air it on Thursday's Nightly News. Rangel completely humiliated Russert and NBC News. He took Russert to the woodshed, yet Brian thought it would be a great idea to put it on his broadcast. Maybe Brian wasn't smart enough to realize exactly what was happening in the interview (he always reminds us that he never graduated college), or maybe he just wanted to give his protege some prime space on Nightly News. Like the PR saying goes--there's no such thing as bad publicity.
Although Rangel later apologized to Russert, he shouldn't have. He got it exactly right about NBC News.