At Slate, Jack Shafer comments on the Newseum’s decision to “make a shrine” of Tim Russert’s office:
The only plausible explanation for the assembly and display of a bunch of second-class relics from the life of Tim Russert is a religious one. I don’t think anybody believes that Russert—no matter how thorough some of his interviews might have been—performed any miracles during his lifetime. Nor do any of his fans regard him a religious martyr. But the adoration being expressed for Russert through his workaday artifacts strikes me as fundamentally spiritual. By making a pilgrimage to the Russert shrine, his disciples hope to prove their faith and intensify their closeness to him.
I’m not kidding. Listen to the blather NBC News President Steve Capus spewed for the AP:”When I saw the mock-up of what it was going to look like, it literally gave me chills,” Capus said. “You know, I felt like we were right back in those wonderful days when Tim was still with us.”[…]
With the erection of its Russert shrine, the Newseum ceases being a museum of journalism and becomes a place where journalist celebrities begin to be worshipped as miracle-producing saints. It’s only a matter of time before the first visions of Russert are spotted inside the joint.
Read the entire commentary here.