He brought the powerful and the would-be powerful to us and firmly but respectfully held them to account. Tim Russert's sudden death today of a heart attack is a wrenching reminder that the familiar faces on the small screen belong to mortal human beings we can lose in a moment.
Of them all, his bluff honesty and persistence did more than most to help cut through the self-serving syrup politicians try to pour over us like pancakes on Sunday mornings.
Amid the outpouring of grief, there will inevitably be grousing about the too-tolerant MSM, but Tim Russert made "Meet the Press" a place where you could get at least some of the truth from people who lie for a living.
Sundays won't be the same without him.