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Eric Boehlert, Media Critic and Writer, Dies at 57

Eric Boehlert, a veteran journalist who was a fierce critic of right-wing misinformation and hypocrisy in the news media, died on Monday in New …

Eric Boehlert, Media Critic and Writer, Dies at 57
07.04.2022 05:02

Eric Boehlert, a veteran journalist who was a fierce critic of right-wing misinformation and hypocrisy in the news media, died on Monday in New Jersey. He was 57.

Mr. Boehlert was struck by a New Jersey Transit train while riding his bicycle near the Watchung Avenue station in Montclair. His death was confirmed by his wife, Tracy Breslin.

A frequent commentator on television and radio, as well as a prolific writer, Mr. Boehlert never shied away from searing critiques of what he saw as bias in the mainstream press and the circular impact of media on politics.

After more than a decade as a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a left-leaning media monitoring group, Mr. Boehlert had in recent years started his own newsletter, Press Run, as a vehicle for his commentary.

“I’m devastated for his family and friends and will miss his critical work to counteract misinformation and media bias,” Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Born in Utica, N.Y., Mr. Boehlert spent some of his childhood in Indiana before his family moved to Guilford, Conn. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Early in his career, Mr. Boehlert covered the music industry at Billboard and Rolling Stone, before becoming a staff writer at Salon. In 2006, he joined Media Matters.

“His passing is a real loss for truth and will leave a void in the broader media landscape,” the group wrote in a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

Mr. Boehlert was the author of two nonfiction books: “Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush,” published in 2006, and “Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press,” published in 2009.

After a stint as a media writer for the website Daily Kos, Mr. Boehlert started Press Run in 2020, which he described as “an unfiltered, passionate and proudly progressive critique of the political press in the age of Trump.”

Ms. Breslin said Mr. Boehlert was an avid athlete and cyclist.

“Eric was brilliant and funny and kind,” she said. “He was an amazing father to Jane and Ben, present their entire lives.” Their daughter, Jane Boehlert, remembered him as “a magnificent father, an incredible person.”

“We already miss him deeply,” she said.

In Mr. Boehlert’s last article on Press Run, published the day he died, he questioned journalists’ coverage of the Biden administration, saying the news media was playing down the president’s achievements.

“The glaring disconnect between reality and how the press depicts White House accomplishments means a key question lingers: Why is the press rooting against Biden?”

A statement from Mr. Boehlert’s family, provided to The New York Times by Richard Abate, Mr. Boehlert’s literary agent, described him as “a fierce defender of democracy, social justice and truth in media.”

“He was fearless and brilliant in his investigation of hypocrisies and double standards in the media, and his contribution was priceless,” the family said. “Eric was filled with vibrant enthusiasms and interests in life as a loving husband, father, sibling, uncle and friend.”

Mr. Abate said they had been friends for 45 years, after meeting in the eighth grade. “He was the most kindest, gentlest, warmest, lovingest person I’ve known, and at the same time he was an absolute fierce warrior when it came to fighting injustice,” he said.

Jon Stewart, the comedian and talk show host, said in a tweet: “Rest In Peace Eric Boehlert. Greatly admired his passion and tenacity.”

Mr. Boehlert is survived by his wife and their two children. Other survivors include three siblings.


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