Pure ratings gold.
We saw no reporting," [media critic Jack ] Shafer says. "It was all catharsis; it was all tears."
And ratings. MSNBC's ratings tripled, Meet the Press was up 60 percent, and even CNN's ratings spiked whenever they put the Russert story on the air. "These shows went over really well," says Shafer. "Obviously they were feeding an interest out there, but I think to the detriment of journalism." [emph added]