I think the reason Tim Russert pleased the elites he always covered is because he never asked a follow-up. In their incessant pandering to the mighty, MSNBC ran Russert's one-on-one with the great Communitibidicator, George Walker. Russert did ask questions a person might call "tough." But it didn't matter what kinds of answers the President gave, he just moved to the next question. The President could say Iraq was invaded because an alien told him to do it, and Russert would nod and move politely on.
By never following up, Russert proved to be the world's best stooge. What I mean, more precisely, is that by accepting patently ludicrous or insufficient answers, he led the public to accept those same answers.
This link shows a whole number of Bob Somerby's posts on Tim Russert.