Russert Gets 'Taishoff Award'

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Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press -- at 58 years the longest-running TV show in history -- got the award for best awards speech Thursday night.

Russert received the "Sol Taishoff Award" for distinguished service to broadcast journalism from the National Press Foundation at a dinner in Washington. The honor is named for the late co-founder and editor of B&C.

Russert thanked 1) his father, a sanitation worker and truck driver for a Buffalo, N.Y., newspaper who held those two jobs in order to put his four kids through school; 2) his mother, who made sure her kids did their homework by not giving them a dinner fork until they had traded in a well-used pencil for it; and 3) the priest in Jesuit school who, upon catching Russert in some infraction, responded to Russert's plea for mercy with the observation that "god dispenses mercy, I dispense justice."

The self-made Taishoff, a Russian immigrant, would have appreciated the values Russert underlined.

Russert also thanked Lawrence Spivak, his predecessor on the NBC Sunday morning show,  for his advice when Russert joined the program 13 years ago that the new host be "persistent, prepared, but civil."

"The more I watch leaders, the more I believe that if they can't answer tough questions, they can't make tough decisions," he concluded to the night's longest and strongest applause.

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