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Tuesday, Jun 25, 2002

your anchor banker

"Second, there is the Sunday Talk Show Anchor. These Sunday shows have evolved into crucial rituals of democracy in which elected and appointed officials expose themselves publicly to whatever form of humiliation the anchor and a couple of colleagues may devise. (Verbal humiliation only, so far—although CBS is said to be working on an interesting variant.) The Sunday Anchor must embody all the nation's conflicting feelings about those who exercise power over us. Contempt, deference, and bonhomie must all be on display simultaneously. NBC Meet the Press anchor Tim Russert's gift for saying, in effect, "With all due respect, Senator, you're a lying bastard. Bowling next Tuesday?"—and not any physical resemblance, which is slight at best—is why so many Americans compare his role in our national life to that of Britain's late queen mother."