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RUSSERT'S PERFORMANCE WAS BRILLIANT

Mark Sommer's commentary criticizing Tim Russert on his moderating of the Rick Lazio/Hillary Clinton debate is typical of The News' biased stance against conservatives.

Sommer said Russert, "leveled an astonishingly cheap shot" at Clinton, and that Russert "dredged up" footage of her interview on the "Today" show regarding the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Russert asked Clinton if she "regretted misleading the American people," and challenged her to "apologize for branding anyone who criticized the president as part of a vast right-wing conspiracy."

Is it unfair for millions of American conservatives to expect an apology from Clinton for insulting us by calling us right-wing conspirators? Russert's performance was brilliant. That is why he is the nation's most influential talk-show host. He's not afraid to ask hard-ball questions in his interviews, something the biased media seldom do.

Contrary to most reports, Lazio swamped Clinton in the debate. Thus far she has avoided full scrutiny from the press.

Sommer said that Russert's show - "Meet The Press" - was "the first to heap respectability upon notorious Internet smut sleuth Matt Drudge by having him on as a guest." Drudge lost his job with the FOX News Network because he wouldn't compromise his moral principles concerning a story the network refused to run.

Russert is an outstanding example of what a good talk-show host should be. It's too bad other newspeople don't live up to his standards.

MIKE MOMBREA SR.

Buffalo

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