The same insults rolled in from the liberal corners of the Internet. Paul Waldman, who works for the Hillary support group "Media Matters for America," fantasized about how he wished a Democratic candidate would just denounce Russert: "Your fondest hope is that the answer to your question will destroy someone's campaign. You're not a journalist, you're the worst kind of hack, someone whose efforts not only don't contribute to a better informed electorate, they make everyone dumber."
Many Hillary-loving pundits ganged up on Russert in 2000 when he asked Hillary in a Senate debate if she regretted misleading the American people when she claimed the Monica Lewinsky sexual shenanigans would not be "proven true" and whether she would apologize for branding people who deplored the Lewinsky affair as a "vast-right wing conspiracy." Journalists from Geraldo Rivera to Gail Collins of The New York Times scorned Russert for punching below the belt.
Russert does wield political power and influence as a pundit and prognosticator, as a Washington bureau chief for NBC, and as an interviewer and debate moderator. His questions can be criticized as too soft or too hard, or not fair or accurate. But it's a little hard to sell the claim that the former Mario Cuomo and Pat Moynihan aide wants to destroy Hillary Clinton's campaign. The real concern here is: Was the question on the Clintons' presidential records really unfair?
Every citizen should expect journalists to press presidential candidates for answers on their public positions and their public records. Sadly, in the past, our media have been so cowed by Clinton spin controllers that they haven't demanded elementary public records. Back in 1992, no one in the media banged a can as the Clintons failed to release federal tax returns from the late 1970s. Inside those returns was proof that Hillary Clinton had made a mysterious $100,000 fortune from a $1,000 investment in the highly risky cattle-futures market. It's bad enough that the media to this very day have never gotten to the bottom of that smelly and mysterious quid pro quo with Hillary's pal Jim Blair, the lobbyist for Tyson Chicken.
How many more episodes of Team Clinton's corruption are still locked away in Hillary's airtight archives?