RIP Eric Boehlert
He said, "we can’t fix America if we don’t fix the press.” Without him, that job gets harder.
I didn’t know Eric Boehlert personally, but I was an admirer of his writing and I enjoyed seeing him from time to time on my TV.
Above all, I was deeply appreciative of the work he was doing here on Substack in a newsletter called Press Run that offered, in his words, “an unfiltered, passionate, and proudly progressive critique of the political press in the age of Trump.”
Boehlert’s death was sudden and shocking.
Because I didn’t know Eric Boehlert personally, when the news of his tragic death broke yesterday, I assumed that I would share that news on Twitter and leave writing about him to those more qualified to do so:
Last night, James Fallows wrote about Boehlert in his Breaking the News newsletter:
I had met Eric only once in “real life.” But I corresponded with him with increasing frequency over the years, especially this past year, and considered him a conscience and inspiration. He was fearless and absolutely unsparing in his writing about this era’s mainstream press. I am so sorry for him, and for his family, and for all of us to have lost his courage and voice.
I had been working on today’s item anyway. But I have Eric Boehlert in my mind as I finish writing this now, and as I plan for future dispatches. Others will have to make up for his absence.
This morning, Michelangelo Signorile wrote about Boehlert in The Signorile Report:
It was crushing news yesterday when we learned of the death of our friend Eric Boehlert, the media critic whose PressRun newsletter here on Substack cut through the lies, deception and access journalism that has dominated mainstream press. He was vital and unrelenting in a time when Trumpism is still growing while much of the media continues to give the GOP a pass as they harshly critique President Biden, playing “both sides” games….
Eric’s very last piece was “Why is the press rooting against Biden?” and I’m so glad he wrote that because now when people are reading the obituaries and click through to his newsletter they’re able to see his criticisms of the very media that is writing about him — from the New York Times and CNN to the Washington Post and Fox News.
In his final article, Boehlert dissected the media coverage of last Friday’s stellar jobs report (emphasis added):
Yet the press shrugs off the good news, determined to keep Biden pinned down. “The reality is that one strong jobs report does not snap the administration out of its current circumstances,” Politico stressed Friday afternoon. How about 11 straight strong job reports, would that do the trick? Because the U.S. economy under Biden has been adding more than 400,000 jobs per month for 11 straight months.
He also slammed The Washington Post for relegating “the March jobs report into 87th placed on its website on Friday”:
That afternoon readers on the daily’s homepage had to scroll down 87 headlines before they saw the first reference to the great economic news. Among the headlines that ran higher on the Post site that afternoon were, “What’s The Best Way to Share My Old Home Videos?” and “The Duke-North Carolina Rivalry, By the Numbers.”
Boehlert started his Substack newsletter in February 2020, just a few weeks after I launched Unprecedented. I late December 2019, I had predicted three things about the election year ahead:
The lies will be endless.
The distractions will be constant.
The media will fail us.
I said then that, “amid the blizzard of lies and the deluge of distractions, Unprecedented will stay focused on facts and reality. And unlike the ‘mass media,’ I won’t be allowing Trump to use demented Twitter rants or the trappings of his office to dictate his own coverage.”
Originally, I had intended to use this newsletter for frequent critiques of the media. But once Boehlert launched Press Run, I took a big step back from that coverage simply because he did it so much better than I ever could.
Boehlert wrote on the “About” page of his newsletter: “we can’t fix America if we don’t fix the press.”
And without him, that job gets even harder.
Trump may be gone from Twitter (for now). But, yesterday, on the same day that Eric Boehlert’s death was made public, Trump-and-Putin loving GQP Congressperson Marjorie Taylor Greene was keeping journalists and headline writers busy with her moronic antics:
Apparently, the mainstream media believes covering MTG’s QAnon-friendly lies about pedophiles and (Trump-like) Twitter feud with Jimmy Kimmel is more important than pointing out she’s actually voting to help Putin cover up war crimes.
2022 is shaping up to be a potentially disastrous year for anyone who cares about peace, democracy and the planet.
Without Eric Boehlert’s “fearless and brilliant” media critiques, it will be harder than ever to shine a light on all the ways that the media are failing us.
In his absence, I will try to do more of that kind of commentary. And I hope many, many others step up to do the same.
Terrible news , I had an answer written too you Richard about this subject ,I blew it and lost it somehow ? I’ll rewrite it later, in the meantime, I will read your article in its entirety too respond. The MSM is killing us . I’m not sure who Eric Boehlert was,may he Rest In Peace. Thank you.
I grieve for this exceptional man along with his family, friends, admirers & everyone else who believes in truth.