Yesterday, when Brian Williams profiled his eightysomething father for NBC's Trading Places series, we objected to the entanglement of human interest, marketing and journalism. To hear Williams' follow-up, the Tyndall Report's complaints represented a lonely voice. "We seemed to have found a topic that touched a nerve," was how Williams described viewers' enthusiastic response to the up-close-and-personal look at their anchor. The next Trading Places was by NBC's DC bureau chief Tim Russert. Since he had already made a book business out of making his father a public figure, Russert's video follow-up about the widower independently living alone seemed like less of an intrusion. We saw Big Russ visited by his daughter, fed by his neighbor--"you have to feed the soul and brain"--and drinking with his friends at south Buffalo's Blackthorn Club. Guinness is apparently good for one's constitution.
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