How Not to be an Old Person
Old Age 4500 Years Ago

Age and Treachery...

category_bug_ageism.gif Remember that ancient joke about old age and treachery beating youth and skill?

How about we reverse it: old age and skill beat youth and treachery every time. Take a look:

Can I have a standing ovation – right here, right now – for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi?

I'm sure Luke Russert still doesn't know what hit him. How could he? He was handed a prestigious job the year he finished college in 2008, without an iota of training and for no reason than his beloved father had pull at the network.

Aspiring television journalists with the poor judgment to be born into no-name families put in 10, 15, even 20 years covering school board meetings at small-town television stations and maybe a war zone or two before becoming network correspondents in New York and Washington, D.C.

If there had been any doubt that Luke Russert is (literally) not ready for prime time, his question to Ms. Pelosi proves he needs to be sent back to farm team for a few years – not for punishment, but to outgrow his counterfactual prejudice and gain some basic reporting skills.

To be fair, it probably isn't Russert's fault. Some older, grown-up executive who is paid lots of money at NBC made a terrible assumption: that a famous last name can substitute for experience even when the news beat is a difficult, complex political institution that can, sometimes, hold the fate of the world in its hands.

Even if he was thrust into a job he is unprepared for, you would think Russert would have learned something more about "diplomacy and interpersonal skills" in four years on Capitol Hill than he displayed yesterday. He deserves every word of Pelosi's elegant smackdown.

(Hat tip to Faith Olson and others for forwarding this video clip yesterday.)

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Renee Watkins: Journal 10.30.12



Standing ovation.

Wish she had followed up by walking over and twisting his ear, like my dad used to do when we put milk back in the fridge with one inch of milk left.

Thank you to Faith Olson and others for passing on this clip that you posted today.
I personally am glad he exposed himself and asked the question.
Nancy Pelosi was then able to respond to the prejudices felt by some left unspoken.
I especially liked her reply when she asked if he would have asked Mitch McConnell the same question.
Men are usually unquestioned for the very thing she was being accused for

He will love doing the weather in Ames Iowa for a few years.

That a was great answer from Pilosi.

Wow, she handled that with such complete grace. I would have been livid and spit the words out at him. Her smiles and laughter were sincere. She's got what all elders should have...confidence because of years of living and working. He is a dip. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this.

My respect for Pelosi just keeps growing.

I think he should have to sit with the wing nuts at fox news for 5 years and not be allowed to say a word in reply to any of the garbage they spew everyday.
Nancy Pelosi has been a godsend to women.

Good stuff!!!! Nancy Pelosi has a winning combination: grace, wit and style!!! I'm guessing that in those stay-at-home mom days, she did a lot of volunteer work and learned a lot -- as did all of us moms who were lucky enough to stay home.

He looked the fool.

Love it !!!!

I wonder if he was also the one who yelled out a question after President Obama signaled the end of his press conference yesterday with the traditional "thank you." Who ever it was, Obama handled it well when he, very pleasantly, said that it was an excellent question, but it would be wrong of him to answer when it had been yelled out after the conference. These young pups who think they are entitled to their own code of conduct do need to be called on their behavior from time to time. Although I don't really know whether "young pups" applies to the reporter at Obama's conference, it was still rude and unprofessional behavior. I very much admired the President's handling of that situation, too. Similarly, Nancy Pelosi seems to have remained calm and collected (more so than others in this clip) and handled the situation brilliantly.

Luke Russert would be a copy boy at the El Paso Times or the Des Moines Register if it were not that is famous Dad was so beloved at NBC.

Nancy Pelosi should not even know who Luke Russert is, much less be questioned by him. And such a snotty question,too.

I suggest you keep quiet, Luke, until you learn the ropes and figure out just who you can speak to the way you spoke to former, and I hope future, Speaker Pelosi..

What's that old saying? "He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple."

Young'uns learn by getting a judicious smackdown once in a while. It's just that without a famous name, he would have gotten that one in a city council meeting in Cedar Rapids, instead of on national tv. Well, let's hope he learns something from it.

Pelosi handled a very offensive question with grace. I did not realize it was Luke Russert. His father would be embarrassed.

Loved her response, she is just such a class act. You know she could have said something about Luke's mother, Maureen Orth, a writer for Vanity Fair who happens to me 70 years old. But Nancy was raised right.

"Let's suggest that it's a legitimate question," a terrific response. Let's fund a Nancy Pelosi workshop for women on how to deal on-the-spot with clueless questioners.

Like Barbara Sutherland, when I In posted this spirited video, wondered what his mother might have said to him last night.

I'm not a great Pelosi fan, but her answer made perfect sense. It's only logical that the parties work to get "youngsters" elected as soon as possible to start building seniority. It's also logical that the older, more politically experienced politicians be the party leaders.

I like Luke Russert but couldn't agree more that people should have to earn their way into prestigious positions, not be handed them just because they have a famous name. And I'd say the same about anyone in any business.

I liked what one commenter wrote on Politico..."here's hoping Luke's mom has a chat with him."

I spent nearly 40 years as a working journalist, and never heard a more tone-deaf, stupid question. His effrontery and insensitivity were inexcusable. Pelosi handled it like a grownup.

This kid needs much more seasoning! Maybe some day he'll be able to fill his late father's exceptionally talented shoes, but it's obvious that he's not there yet. Talent doesn't necessarily follow in families, and even when it does, it cannot be counted on to substitute for real-world experience. Nancy Pelosi handled the question with great aplomb, as I'm sure she handles the many sexist, ageist white males in Congress that she has to deal with every day. (Bet Luke's dad is spinning in his grave and his mom is sorely disappointed!)

He didn't or wouldn't ask Mitch McConnell the same question which points to the same old double standard for women- and that with a whole room full of Democratic women in front of him making history with their numbers! Talk about missing the message.

She taught that young pup a thing or two!

Nancy Pelosi needs to save this video and years down the road when she has passed on, leave it to her grandchildren so they can post it on a future version of YouTube so young Russert, provided he lives to a ripe old age, can relive this humiliating interview. Hopefully though he will have developed mature reporting skills long before that time comes.

Most exciting piece of tape I have seen in years...Yes, Virginia, it is okay to call out the whippersnappers for their arrogance.

As much as I liked Tim it bothers me to see his son in a position that he is obviously not yet qualified for. The boy has way too much air time. Nancy was great!!!

Note to Nancy: I don't know about the El Paso Times, but the Des Moines Register is too classy for Luke Russert.

~Tarzana the Iowan

I hate to interrupt all the laughter, but I find this incident reminds us how many young people see older adults. We agree that many assumptions they make are totally inaccurate, but it can't be ignored. It's pervasive and hurtful. I'd like people to know that many of us discover that aging broadens our perspective, confers greater empathy and allows us a bit of wisdom. Unfortunately negative beliefs about older adults are part of popular cultural--Shouldn't we make some kind of effort to shift public opinion ?

Note to Tarzana:

Sorry about using the Des Moines Register as an example of where young Luke should be learning his trade.

You are right. I have often read articles from the DMR and always found them well written and interesting.

But, what I was really thinking was that he could be the Starbucks runner for the real reporters....

Babyboomerwriter...isn't that what Nancy Pelosi did?

It was interesting that the other women on the dais bristled instantly, almost hissing in response to his question.

If he HAD asked the same question to a dais full of men (which I agree is unlikely to happen) I wonder how they would have reacted. Stiff silence? Macho laughter?

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